Automotive

Goodyear BHO3 concept tire generates electricity

The BHO3 concept tire uses a thermo/peizoelectric net to turn heat and motion into electricity (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
The BHO3 concept tire uses a thermo/peizoelectric net to turn heat and motion into electricity (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
View 12 Images
A rendering of the BHO3 concept tire (Image: Goodyear)
1/12
A rendering of the BHO3 concept tire (Image: Goodyear)
Skeleton view of the BHO3 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
2/12
Skeleton view of the BHO3 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
Interior view of the BHO3 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
3/12
Interior view of the BHO3 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
The BHO3 concept tire uses a thermo/peizoelectric net to turn heat and motion into electricity (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
4/12
The BHO3 concept tire uses a thermo/peizoelectric net to turn heat and motion into electricity (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
The BHO3 on display in Geneva (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
5/12
The BHO3 on display in Geneva (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
The BHO3 uses a thermo/peizoelectric net (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
6/12
The BHO3 uses a thermo/peizoelectric net (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
The BHO3 has a built-in cooling system (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
7/12
The BHO3 has a built-in cooling system (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
The BHO3 has heat-absorbing treads (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
8/12
The BHO3 has heat-absorbing treads (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
The BHO3 generates electricity from tire heat due to friction (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
9/12
The BHO3 generates electricity from tire heat due to friction (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
List of BHO3 features (Image: Gizmag.com)
10/12
List of BHO3 features (Image: Gizmag.com)
The BHO3 can run for a limited time after being punctured (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
11/12
The BHO3 can run for a limited time after being punctured (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
The BHO3 produces electricity from deformation (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
12/12
The BHO3 produces electricity from deformation (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)

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.

The BHO3 can run for a limited time after being punctured (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)
The BHO3 can run for a limited time after being punctured (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag.com)

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.

Source: Goodyear

12 comments
Michael Porter
The idea of capturing energy from motion or heat from friction goes against the 2nd law of thermodynamics - you can't get something for free. The energy you harvest that way can only originate from the vehicle's drive system - i.e. you must use more electricity in the electric motor than you could ever collect in the tires. The one possible area you could win is collecting heat from the sun- but because you have to add a cooling system to the tires I am sceptical that would ever return more than it costs.
Daishi
Somehow this seems like it would be perpetual motion machine fallacy in that you would probably get less energy out of the tire than you are putting into it. Regenerative braking makes sense because brakes are designed to exchange energy for heat through friction so all that is lost is wear and tear on some brake pads (and heat) but wheels need to be efficient and any recouping of energy through the process would likely net an efficiency loss unless the guy selling it to you is doing your math. Even after they finish the tire they have to convince (less gullible) auto companies to use them rather than the general public because it would take some integration into the car.
Schreibtribe
@Michael Porter... you're correct that you can't get something for free. However, if overall EV drivetrain efficiency cannot be improved any further, and rolling resistance isn't compromised, then recapturing wasted heat elsewhere in the system *should* have a net positive effect on vehicle efficiency. @Daishi... regenerative braking occurs in the electric motor, not at the brake pads. This is a really cool concept!! If these can pull some lateral g's, I'll put them on my future Tesla Model P365D++
Martin Winlow
This is just complete nonsense - as Daishi has pointed out. Even if the wheel could harness some energy, it would be so tiny that in the context of powering an EV it would be utterly irrelevant. That a mainstream publication such as GM could be had by this over-unity nonsense is unbelievable. Sir Issac Newton, come back! All is forgiven!! MW
Daishi
@Schreibtribe I meant replacing standard braking with regenerative braking.
Michael Porter
@Schreibtribe If it is collecting energy from motion and friction, then obviously rolling resistance is going to be higher.
Dawar Saify
Well the claim is to use waste heat so the physics is sound, whether this results in collection of credible amounts of energy is another matter, given that the technology has to be applied which will add greatly to the cost.
Don Duncan
If the goal is to use heat to generate electricity, and the tire is engineered to collect maximum heat for maximum electricity, then why would they want to cool down the tire? Wouldn't it be better to develop a more effective heat transfer-conversion device?
Lumen
Michael Porter, Daichi, Relax. Who's claiming perpetual motion, or getting something for nothing? There's a whole lot of energy out there... let's use it! Using heat that's developing at the tires anyway can be beneficial if the means of process does not consume more energy than is being converted. How much does the overall conversion apparatus weigh as opposed to not having it? How much energy is consumed moving that additional weight? Things like that. If the process is an overall net energy gain that's within affordability thresholds for the target market, then great! Another possible benefit is that the piezoelectric conversion might, even if marginally, reduce the surface heat of the tires. Its similar to perspiration but inverse: surface cooling through energy draw inward rather than energy release outward. I like your question Don. I don't get the cooling system either. Let's see how they do. This is Goodyear Tires, after all. Maybe observers would be dissuaded if a garage inventor came up with this, but do you think Goodyear would be putting time, money, and their reputation on the line for something that doesn't work? Godspeed to them.
Michael Porter
I just think they should concentrate only on collecting energy from heat that would have been lost anyway, and not worry about collecting energy from the tire deformation or doing modifications to increase friction or add cooling. My limited experimenting in the heat-to-electricity conversion area makes me think it would be very difficult to collect enough energy to be worth the effort - but I wish them luck anyway. Possibly the cooling they mention is not for cooling the tire but for cooling a Peltier-like device as part of the electricity generation from heat.
Thanks for reading our articles. Please consider subscribing to New Atlas Plus.
By doing so you will be supporting independent journalism, plus you will get the benefits of a faster, ad-free experience.