Electric vehicles generally come in either all-electric, called a Plug-In, or some form of hybrid that includes a gasoline engine. Some manufacturers call it a ‘range-extender’, while others simply acknowledge the electric will go so many miles until the gasoline engine kicks in and provides the power. Meanwhile, there are many consumers who embrace the idea of an all-electric and the benefits of zero emissions, but are extremely concerned about ‘running out of gas’ in a remote area, or actually, having the battery go dead. Perhaps Goodyear Tire company has the solution with their concept tire Bho3,
I was actually test-driving an all-electric vehicle and I loved it. It had all the technology features I needed, it was ultra-quiet, and it zoomed along the highway quite nicely. It was great, until the car went dead. Internet searches had clearly identified charging stations about half-way along my 130 mile route. As the battery de-charged, the instrument panel began sending messages and identifying available charging stations, including the one I knew about. It was located along a major US Interstate Highway between two of the 10 largest cities in the United States. No problem, I mistakenly thought. I pulled into the designated location, easily found the charge station, and attempted to hook-up. Unfortunately, the charging station would only take Tesla vehicles and none of the thousands of others zooming up and down the highway.
Goodyear Tire introduced their solution to this ‘dead-battery’ anxiety at the Geneva Auto Show earlier this year. They call it the the BH03, a idea under development, but significant enough to be introduced at a major world automotive show as a ‘concept.’
How does it work? Simply explained, the tires generate heat, which we all know, but this tire transforms that heat source into a form of electrical energy that is routed to recharge the vehicle’s batteries. Goodyear has been somewhat vague about the specifics, but did say that the tire is constructed with a layer of thermo-piezoelectric material. This is some sort of a fish-net lining.
In a statement, Goodyear said, “This tire generates electricity through the action of materials in the tire that captures and transforms the energy created by heat when it flexes as it rolls during normal driving conditions.” That statement is about as clear in understanding as a politician running for elective office.”
The BH03 tire has ultra-black textured patches that absorb both heat and light. Sunlight warms parked cars up on sunny days, so heat from the sun can also be captured and transformed into energy. “These concept tires re-imagine the role that tires may play in the future,” said Joe Zekoski, Goodyear’s senior vice president and chief technical officer. “We envision a future in which our products become more integrated with the vehicle and the consumer, more environmentally friendly and more versatile.”
Since this is still a concept idea by Goodyear, there is no projection as to when or if it will come into production. I certainly wish that I had had these tires on my test-drive vehicle when I was stranded. My solution was to locate a nearby church who offered me the opportunity to plug-in to a 110 outlet. I had to leave the car overnight and waited 12 hours, but it did fully charge and I was able to continue on my trip the next afternoon. It was a learning experience, but I am hopeful Goodyear is successful with this proposed BH03 tire, even if it is a radical idea.