As the market for electric cars continues to grow, the main concern that remains for consumers is the vehicles' potential limited range, or how far they can drive before needing to be recharged. While bigger, longer-lasting batteries would always be nice, a possible solution may come from the cars' own tires. At the recent Geneva International Auto Show, Goodyear unveiled its BH03 concept tire, which generates electricity by converting the heat it builds up while driving down the road.
Goodyear says the BH03 collects the heat for conversion in multiple ways. The easiest, and most common way is via the friction built up as the tire makes contact with the road when in motion. The heat generated from flexing is also stored. But the materials of the tire itself, which includes a thermo-piezoelectric layer, can also collect heat when not moving. Small patches on the surface of the tire can draw in heat directly from the Sun, such as when parked outside on a hot day.
There are few other details, sadly, as the BH03 fits the definition of a "concept." There was no mention of how the electricity generated by the tires could make its way to power the car. And don't even think about a price or potential timeframe of availability.
Goodyear did use the Geneva auto show to premiere another concept, however. This second tire has three separate tubes under its tread for air, with an internal pump adjusting inflation levels, and thus driving characteristics, based on the current conditions of the road. Among the settings include wet-traction, eco-safety, and sports modes.