Tires Latest Source of EV Power

Vehicle tires could be the latest source of energy generation to boost range and performance of electrified powertrains.

Engineers for Japanese tire giant, Sumitomo Rubber Industries, have teamed up with Professor Hiroshi Tani of Kansai University, to develop a system that claims to collect static electricity generated within vehicle tires. The system, dubbed Energy Harvester, employs two layers of rubber each covered in an electrode, along with a negatively charged film that reacts with a positively charged film. When fixed to the inside of a conventional tire carcass it claims to generate electricity as the tire deforms as it runs along the road.

The tire maker, parent company of Falken Tyre Europe, believes the system could become a power source for sensors used in tire pressure monitoring systems among other devices. Any electricity saved will mean the electrified powertrain’s battery pack suffers less load and boost its performance and potential range between charges.

Now, the research has been selected by the Japan’s national research and development agency, Japan Science and Technology Agency, as a Type FS seed project, a program supporting research and development projects undertaken jointly by academia and enterprise in order to perform feasibility and application studies based on the results of academic research related to technological “seeds,” with the ultimate aim of producing new core technologies.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_



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