Automotive

Goodyear's "rechargeable" concept tire extrudes extra tread as needed

Goodyear's "rechargeable" conc...
Goodyear's latest concept tire allows you to pop a cartridge of new tread compound into the center of the hub, where it extrudes out at the wheel surface
Goodyear's latest concept tire allows you to pop a cartridge of new tread compound into the center of the hub, where it extrudes out at the wheel surface
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Goodyear's latest concept tire allows you to pop a cartridge of new tread compound into the center of the hub, where it extrudes out at the wheel surface
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Goodyear's latest concept tire allows you to pop a cartridge of new tread compound into the center of the hub, where it extrudes out at the wheel surface
For Goodyear's reCharge concept the wheel architecture would hopefully flex a little to replace the ride comfort of a pneumatic tire
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For Goodyear's reCharge concept the wheel architecture would hopefully flex a little to replace the ride comfort of a pneumatic tire
Different tread blends would be available, including custom ones designed by AI, for Goodyear's reCharge concept
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Different tread blends would be available, including custom ones designed by AI, for Goodyear's reCharge concept
Tread compound is squeezed out through a series of holes in the outer layer, letting you add tread as if you're growing a chia pet
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Tread compound is squeezed out through a series of holes in the outer layer, letting you add tread as if you're growing a chia pet
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We love a good concept tire here at New Atlas. Incremental improvements aside, the wheel-to-road interface has been more or less stagnant since Goodyear rolled out the first commercial tubeless tire some 66 years ago. Now, the same company has proposed a radically different design with the new age of electric mobility in mind.

Electric cars, of course, will theoretically need very little in the way of maintenance. There's no oil changes or belts or timing chains to do, and regenerative braking does the lion's share of the stopping work, so even your brake pads will rarely need changing. Tires, on the other hand, will still require you to take your car to a workshop and wait around as they're being changed. In the age of instant gratification, this might start feeling like an anachronism.

Enter Goodyear's reCharge concept. The idea is to have a wheel that squirts out tire tread from a central reservoir as and when you need it, with replaceable cartridges that let you tailor the compound mix to your needs. The wheel itself seems to have some flex built into it, a la Michelin's iconic Tweel design, to replace the smooth ride offered by a pneumatic tire, and the hub's got an aperture in the middle that you can poke a new tread capsule into.

The tread compound would be biodegradable, made from biological materials and reinforced with fibers "inspired by" spider silk. This is science fiction at this stage, so let's roll with it. Individualized tread compounds would be designed for each driver's usage profile using artificial intelligence, because of course they would. And the treads would allegedly be super-durable, even if making an extra-durable tread would appear to be a counter-incentive to the idea of making tires that are extra-easy to recharge.

For Goodyear's reCharge concept the wheel architecture would hopefully flex a little to replace the ride comfort of a pneumatic tire
For Goodyear's reCharge concept the wheel architecture would hopefully flex a little to replace the ride comfort of a pneumatic tire

It's not immediately clear how exactly the tread liquid would get from the hub out to the exterior in an even fashion and without being affected by the deformation of the wheel, or indeed how Goodyear plans to make sure the tread gets evenly pushed out on the bit the car's entire weight is resting on, but let's play along and say it works perfectly. Theoretically, the reCharge wheel could pop out a bit of extra tread at the press of a button if you're heading off-road (however unlikely that may be in the kinds of future electric mobility pods envisaged here), or even perhaps retract it some to lower your rolling resistance and increase efficiency on the highway. That's not Goodyear talking here, that's pure speculation. But if it can make stuff up, so can we.

Realistically, by the time electrics take over to the degree that we need to start thinking about new tire solutions, the cars will be driving themselves, JohnnyCab style. So tire wear won't be a consumer concern, it'll be an issue for Uber or whatever companies end up owning the robo-rideshare market. In that context of high-mileage driving, where hours off the road for maintenance has a direct impact on the bottom line, maybe something like this, where a full tire change could be completed in two minutes at the depot, might start making sense. Until then ... well, it's an interesting concept to think about, but it's a little early to be reinventing the wheel.

Check out the video below. You'll note that as a measure of kindness to Goodyear, I've refrained from mentioning that these things are supposed to change color at the touch of a phone app. Whoops, now I've gone and mentioned it.

Goodyear reCharge Concept – Making Tire Changing Easy with Customized Capsules that Renew your Tires

Source: Goodyear

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6 comments
PhilipKFreeman
Soon we ride in hovercraft.
xs400
@PhilipKFreeman - yes. If we replace the rubber capsules with air we will ride on air.
Douglas Rogers
Roads get ever rougher. Hence the desire for SUVs and trucks.
ljaques
Horsefeathers! I heard "durable and sustainable", which means they developed it for the sheeple. Nothing on performance, and I'm one of those guys who likes to feel Gs in their cornering. Expensive to manufacture and repair? You betcha. Pass.
Kpar
Something like this will probably appear on robot surveyors on Mars or other planets. Sending the rover back for warranty work is quite pricey...
mhenriday
«Concept tyre» ? Off in the blue, it seems to me.... ;-) Henri