One of the biggest hurdles that electric cars face in going mainstream is range anxiety – that dreadful realization that you're in the middle of nowhere and your car might not reach the next charging station. To help combat this, Goodyear came up with its BHO3 concept tire, which generates electricity by converting heat and motion into current as the tire rolls ... and even when it's standing still.
Cars are one the great transportation success stories, but they're also incredibly inefficient. Their main function is to move people from point A to point B, but in doing so they not only waste huge amounts of energy in heat, but also ignore potential sources of energy around them. Unveiled recently at the 85th Geneva International Motor Show, Goodyear's BHO3 concept tire tries to balance that equation by taking a passive device designed to reduce friction and turning it into an electrical generator.
The BHO works by turning heat and motion into electricity. It has an ultra-black texture that absorbs light and heat, and the tread is heat-absorbing. This means that the tire gets hotter both through friction while driving and while sitting in the sun, but the tricky bit is getting the the tire to turn this heat into electricity.
To do this, the BHO3 is lined with a fishnet pattern of thermo/piezoelectric material. This net turns the heat into electrical current, and its piezoelectric properties also allow it to harvest energy from the tire as it deforms during driving. To keep the tire from overheating, there's also a cooling system in the sidewalls.
Goodyear says that the net also has a bonus feature in that it provides the tire with structural support, so if it's punctured, it can continue to travel at 80 km/h (50 mph) for 80 km (50 mi). It even improves rolling resistance.
The BHO3 is still a concept, so details such as performance or how it hooks into the car's electrical system are sketchy, but it may not be too long before you have to remember to unplug your tire before you change it.
The video below outlines the BHO3 tire.