Emerging Wheel Technologies
Over the decades, tires have changed much more than most drivers realize. Tire companies are constantly coming up with new ways to make tires that achieve better safety, handling, fuel economy and longevity. In fact, there are many ways to extend the life of a tire, such as tires that employ complex self-regenerating treads. Michelin offers some tires equipped with its Infinicoil technology, which uses a giant steel cord wrapped underneath the rubber layer. The steel increases the rigidness of the surface of the tire, and allows them to be made wider than before. They also tend to last longer. The way tires and wheel function together is also rapidly becoming an important area for improvement. We might be less than a decade away from the first commercially available airless tire! For more on Emerging Wheel Technologies, check out this great blog by the Canadian Automotive and Trucking Institute.
“A new high-tech wheel rolled out by Protean Electric could help increase the fuel efficiency of hybrids by as much as 30 percent. The advanced system, unveiled at the 2013 SAE World Congress, features in-wheel electric motors that help to power a hybrid and improve the vehicle’s overall drive system. Stored in space behind the wheel, the electric motor can deliver about a 100 horsepower. The regenerative braking system allows up to 85 percent of the available kinetic energy to be recovered during braking. The fact that the in-wheel motors don’t require gearboxes, driveshafts or differentials, is also said to give carmakers more flexibility when designing the system.”