Tyres might not be something that you think about on a regular basis, mainly because they’re often left as an afterthought. As motorists, many of us only think about our tyres when we’re checking the pressure ahead of a long journey or when we get a sudden flat and we have to deal with it at the side of the road.
But for those of us who are looking to minimise our impact on the environment and to live more sustainable lifestyles, tyres suddenly become a hot topic. After all, they’re a vital part of every vehicle, and we can change our tyres without having to spend a fortune ordering the latest Tesla EV.
Tyres have an impact on sustainability because they affect vehicles’ manoeuvrability and handling, as well as determining the amount of friction and resistance that your car experiences as it cruises the highways. One study has shown that because of this, having the right tyres, pressure and wheel alignment can cut fuel consumption (and emissions) by 15%.
In today’s tech-rich society, we’re able to push the limits of innovation further than ever before. To see the sustainable tyre technologies of the future, you just have to look at revolutionary new tyres like the Oxygene tyre which uses living moss to absorb moisture from the road while releasing oxygen to counteract carbon emissions. One day, manufacturers hope it will be able to help to power the vehicles.
So what exactly can we expect from the tyres of the future – and how can they help us travel more eco-friendly?
Infographic source: https://www.oponeo.ie/blog/evolution-of-car-tyres
Many of the new developments in the tyre industry focus on the ability for tyres to repair themselves, such as the Goodyear ReCharge tyre (which regrows its tread) and ContiSeal’s futuristic “self-healing” tyres (which leaks a fluid which solidifies to seal punctures).
And it’s not just fuel emissions, either. Bridgestone’s QuietTrack tyres, for example, were created to tackle the problem of noise pollution, while the Eagle 360 Urban Tyre uses AI to collect and process huge amounts of data and to provide actionable feedback to users. Like a telematics box on steroids, the aim is to encourage safer – and more fuel-efficient – drivers.
But perhaps most significant of all are new creations like Michelin’s Uptis tyre and the sustainable tyre from the Centre for Sustainable Polymers at the University of Minnesota. Though it’s still relatively early days for both of them, they show us the direction that tyre design is taking – and it’s towards a more sustainable future.
The technologies mentioned are the tip of the iceberg, and all of the major vehicle manufacturers are carrying out extensive research and development of their own. That’s good news for us, the consumers, because it encourages innovation and will give us more choice and more opportunities to reduce our carbon footprints.
As for what’s next, that’s anyone’s guess. What we can be sure of is that as sustainability and efficiency become more important to us as a society, innovations like the ones mentioned will gain ever-increasing significance. Here’s to the tyre of the future!