Goodyear's new concept tire is weird. So very, very weird.
Tires wear. It's an unavoidable fact of life: as you drive, the road surface gradually wears away at your tires' tread until there's nothing left, requiring their replacement.
But increasingly, tire manufacturers are starting to look at alternative means of construction that could extend the tire's usable lifespan substantially - perhaps indefinitely - and the latest concept to join the fray might be the weirdest, most ambitious one to-date. That concept, reCharge, involves a biodegradable compound with fiber reinforcement inspired by spider silk, which can be fed to the tire to allow it to regenerate its own tread, and if that doesn't sound like it's straight out of a Philip K. Dick novel, we don't know what does.
Why spider silk? Because ounce-for-ounce, it's one of the strongest nature-made materials known to man, allowing the Goodyear reCharge's tread to be fully biodegradable without sacrificing durability. Each tread-regenerating compound is custom-blended based on the car's unique performance requirements, with the potential for seasonal (summer vs. winter) blends, blends tailored to specific regions, and personalized blends concocted by artificial intelligence, based upon the customer's individual driving style.
"Goodyear wants the tire to be an even more powerful contributor to answering consumers' specific mobility needs," says Goodyear Europe Chief Marketing Officer Mike Rytokoski. "It was with that ambition that we set out to create a concept tire primed for the future of personalized and convenient electric mobility."
The actual meat of the tire would be made up of a thin, lightweight wire frame, rather than empty space filled with pressurized air as in a conventional tire.
The possibilities of such a tire are, needless to say, very compelling. Imagine being able to change from summer to winter tires simply by loading a new tread-regenerating compound into the tire, or switching from a road compound to a race compound in the same way. And that's not to mention the primary selling point: not having to replace tires ever again.
Will Goodyear's reCharge tire concept make it to market soon, if ever? As a product, it seems too zany and outlandish for this universe, but stranger things have happened, and with Goodyear's mention of "personalized and convenient electric mobility," these tires could be just what your Tesla Model Y needs.