Is This Tire About To Revolutionize The Electric Vehicle?
The Electricity-Generating Tire: Combining Locomotion With Energy Production
The latest manufacturing proposal designed to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels is a tire that generates its own electricity. The Goodyear company, which for more than a century has been producing tires used by fossil fuel-burning vehicles, is putting its expertise to work in developing something that could significantly enhance electric car technology. The end result could be a reduction in energy use by consumers and businesses alike.
Paving The Way To A New Era Of Transportation
Though growing in popularity, electric vehicles are saddled by limited range and their relatively small sizes, factors that in turn limit their commercial viability. However, vehicles that use electricity created by their own motion would circumvent both of these issues. Trucks, buses, recreational vehicles and even luxury cars could adopt this new technology, literally paving the way to limitless driving opportunities.
When The Piezoelectric Material Meets The Road
The Goodyear idea could use the principle of piezoelectricity, which is essentially electrical energy created by the squeezing of certain materials. Tires are constantly subject to squeezing as they roll along the ground, which could generate a constant current if constructed of the correct materials.
Piezoelectric materials, which include quartz, are currently used in such consumer products as cigarette lighters and, in the military, as fuses in rocket-propelled grenades. Another possible method would employ the principle of thermoelectricity, which involves the conversion of heat into power.
The Fuel Cell Challenge
The next manufacturing dilemma would be to find a way of using the electricity created to power the vehicle or of storing the power so it could be used later. One possibility would involve running a connection from the tire to the hub and, from there, to the vehicle’s battery.
From Dream Concept To Actual Cars?
Electricity-generating tires are at this time only a dream and even farther from being a practical reality. However, they offer the promise of reducing energy consumption while at the same time stimulating to the American manufacturing sector. A revitalized auto industry working in concert with a technology beneficial to everyone could be the spark that returns the American economy to greatness. Can anyone think of other benefits of electricity-generating tires?