Pioneering the Future of Tyres: Innovations for the Electric Vehicle Era

In the midst of the electric vehicle (EV) revolution, an often-overlooked component of automobiles is receiving a much-needed overhaul: the tyre. While EVs have advanced rapidly, tyre technology has lagged, posing environmental and safety challenges. However, a wave of innovation spearheaded by both start-ups and established companies is set to transform this critical component, making tyres cleaner, safer, and more suitable for the new era of electric mobility.

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Published on
November 21, 2023

The Need for Change:Traditional tyres, a staple of the automotive industry, have remained relatively unchanged even as vehicles evolve into electric models. This stagnation presents significant issues. Worn tyres not only pose a safety hazard but also contribute to environmental pollution through microparticle emissions. Additionally, the disposal and recycling of millions of old tyres globally is an environmentally taxing process. This scenario underscores the urgent need for tyre innovation.

Innovators Leading the Charge:

The Smart Tyre Company (Los Angeles, California):

Born from NASA's Glenn Research Centre's research, this start-up is developing non-pneumatic tyres using a shape memory alloy. These tyres, initially designed for Mars rovers, can withstand harsh conditions and automatically regain their shape after deformation. The company's collaboration with Hyundai and Kia marks a significant step towards futuristic automotive tyres.

The Tyre Collective (London, UK):

Winner of the James Dyson award in 2020, this British company is tackling tyre pollution with a novel approach. By using electrostatically charged copper plates, the company aims to capture rubber microparticles, potentially recycling them for new tyres or 3D printing applications.

Tyromer (Ontario, Canada):

Addressing the challenge of tyre recycling, Tyromer has developed an energy-efficient chemical process for rapid devulcanization of rubber. This innovation enables the reuse of rubber in new tyres and other applications, presenting a sustainable solution to tyre waste.

Robotire (Plymouth, Michigan):

Revolutionising tyre servicing, Robotire's automated system uses robotic arms to change and balance tyres in about 25 minutes. This technology not only enhances efficiency but also frees up human workers for other tasks.

Treads (Park City, Utah):

Bringing the subscription model to tyres, Treads offers a monthly service that includes tyre delivery, rotations, repair, and roadside assistance. The company also emphasises environmental responsibility by recycling old tyres and supporting carbon removal initiatives.

TyreFlow (Lancaster, Pennsylvania):

Focused on improving tyre recycling rates in the U.S., TyreFlow integrates the entire recycling process, from collection to processing. The company's ability to convert tyre rubber into carbon black for new tyres and other products is a notable advancement in sustainable tyre management.

Sailun (China):

As an established tyre manufacturer, Sailun is innovating with its ERange line, specifically designed for electric vehicles. These tyres feature a lower rolling resistance and enhanced load-bearing capacity, catering to the unique needs of heavier EVs and extending their range.

As the world shifts towards electric vehicles, the innovations in tyre technology by these firms are not just enhancing the performance and safety of EVs but also addressing critical environmental concerns.

This wave of innovation signifies a crucial step in aligning tyre technology with the ethos of the electric vehicle era, paving the way for a more sustainable and efficient future in automotive transportation.

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