Most people don’t think about their tires until it’s time to replace them but Goodyear’s latest concept has us asking an odd question: If a rolling stone gathers no moss, does a moss-covered tire gather no stones?
Before you do a double take, let us explain. Goodyear’s Oxygene tire concept is a bit of a rolling garden as it houses moss that grows on the sidewalls.
The tire also features a unique open tread pattern which has been designed to absorb moisture from the road surface and then transfer it to the moss. This allows photosynthesis to occur which releases oxygen into the air. Besides releasing oxygen, the tire “inhales CO2” and then feeds it to the moss.
Goodyear says if a Paris-sized city, with around 2.5 million vehicles, used Oxygene tires then it would eliminate 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide every year while also producing more than 3,000 tons of oxygen. This would be a major benefit as the company notes the World Health Organization says “more than 80% of people who live in air pollution-measured urban areas are exposed to air quality levels that exceed WHO limits.”
The Oxygene is constructed out of recycled tires which have been turned into a powder. The Oxygene is then 3D printed using the powder and this process enables the tire to have a lightweight, shock-absorbing structure that cannot be punctured.
The tire also “harvests the energy generated during photosynthesis” to power an assortment of onboard sensors and electronics including a sidewall light strip and an artificial intelligence processing unit. The tire also has V2V and V2X technology which allows it to warn other vehicles about lane changes and other maneuvers.
While we shouldn’t expect to see the Oxygene any time soon, Goodyear used the Geneva Motor Show to unveil a prototype of its upcoming EfficientGrip Performance tire which has been designed specifically for electric vehicles.
The tire will be launched in Europe next year and it is more resilient than existing tires as research has shown “traditional tires can wear out up to 30% faster on electric vehicles due to the powerful, instant torque from electric motors and the additional vehicle weight from heavy battery packs.”
To solve these problems, the EfficientGrip Performance tire has thinner sipes in the tread that allow for greater overall contact with the road. This enables the tire to “better cope with high levels of torque” generated by electric motors.
The tire also has aerodynamic sidewalls, an ultra-low rolling resistance rating and an optimized tire cavity shape which can better support the weight of electric vehicles.