You might not have to reinvent the wheel, but Goodyear thinks it’s about time that we do. By giving the wheel a 21st-century upgrade, the tire and rubber company believes it can change the way we think about driving.
It wasn’t too long ago when people scoffed at the concept of electric cars. But early adopters of the gas-free vehicle knew there was a promising future ahead. The combination of rising fuel costs and increased concerns over the earth’s depleting resources has made the electric car a beacon of hope for the countless drivers on the road across the globe.
Yet when it comes to electric cars, there’s an elephant in the room preventing sales from skyrocketing. It’s an issue that has helped hybrid cars, but has restricted the popularity of the all-electric car: How can people keep their cars charged if they’re away from an energy source for too long?
The answer, says Goodyear, is in the tires.
In early March, Goodyear came to the Geneva International Motor Show with their BH03 concept tire. The BH03 tire would transform heat that’s generated by the friction caused by rolling tires into electricity for vehicles.
Unlike outlets and the sun, friction exists 100% of the time while you drive. It’s unavoidable. If Goodyear’s concept tire does what they say it can, it will revolutionize the electric-car concept. The biggest fear of all – not having a full charge – will become nonexistent, leaving little reason for swarms of people not to free themselves of fuel dependency.
Goodyear brought another concept tire to the motor show in March: the Triple Tube. Aptly named, the Triple Tube features three internal tubes that automatically inflate/deflate, based on road conditions. The three positions Triple Tube can adjust to include:
“These concept tires reimagine the role that tires may play in the future,” said Goodyear Senior Vice President Joe Zekoski in a formal statement. “We envision a future in which our products become more integrated with the vehicle and the consumer, more environmentally friendly and more versatile.”
Both tires remain concepts, and nothing more. Yet their potential impact on an activity most Americans participate in has raised eyebrows and turned heads. Even as Goodyear works toward turning these concepts into reality, other innovators across the auto industry are likely hard at work imagining their own groundbreaking ideas.
The BHO3, in particular, speaks to the current needs of the American driver. The need to get from point A to point B will never go away. Rather than attempt to change a driver’s habits (take public transportation, get a bike, work closer to home), the BHO3 is designed to solve an ongoing problem (how can we reduce the cost of driving) without changing the way the general population lives its life.