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Would a Tyre War benefit Formula E?


With Michelin improving their efficiency and performance with their season three compound which sees an efficiency gain of 11 per cent. We wondered if a tyre war in Formula E would help develop tyres that are even more energy efficient? 

A tyre war in Formula E may cause tyre manufacturers to come up with new and exciting ideas to increase energy efficiency and find ways to turn lost energy such as heat into useful electrical energy, which can be captured and restored into the powertrain.

Last year Goodyear announced a concept tyre that would generate electricity from lost heat energy, which can be converted back into the powertrain to give the cars greater efficiency.

Obviously, this is a concept and the amount data and technology to actually create such a tyre is still unknown. However, if Goodyear was in a tyre war with Michelin in Formula E, that may force the American company to look deeper into how they can make that tyre a reality.

Goodyear is positive that their concept can become a reality in the future. As a Goodyear spokesperson offered a brief explanation of how this concept could work.

“This tyre generates electricity through the action of materials in the tyre that capture and transform the energy created by heat when it flexes as it rolls during normal driving conditions. The materials used would optimise the tyre’s electricity generation capabilities as well as its rolling resistance.

“This means that the tyre will have to be made from materials that convert compression force or heat into electrical current. This could be great for Formula E, as that electricity could be used to recharge the battery and therefore making the range of electric cars higher,” said the Goodyear spokesperson.

The philosophy behind Formula E is to drive the future, and seeing what Michelin have already achieved in Formula E regarding efficiency has been positive, but if you brought competition into play, how much further can these tyres be developed to help increase the range of electric cars in the future.

However, the downside of a tyre war in the sport is that it could become quite expensive for the manufacturers involved, as they push the boundaries of technology to gain a competitive edge.

On the other hand, Formula E could impose a cost cap on the tyre manufacturers so they don’t spend millions of pounds developing tyres.

With electric cars becoming a real possibility in the near future, tyre manufacturers will be looking at ways to complement electric powertrains to help increase the range of electric road cars.

If Michelin, Goodyear or Bridgestone can produce a tyre that increases the range of your electric car by 5okm or 100km, then customers are more likely to purchase those tyres compared to rest.

However, those numbers may only happen if there is competition between tire manufacturers to produce the best electric road car tyre, and Formula E may be the best place to showcase that.