Goodyear follows in Ford’s footsteps, will release a tire made with soybean oil in 2015

Good Year TireGoodyear has begun testing car tires produced using soybean oil, which will not only reduce its dependence on petroleum-based oil, but also extend the lifetime of the tire’s tread.

Research has shown that soybean oil-based tire tread lasts 10-percent longer than its traditional counterpart, and that it blends better during the manufacturing process too, which according to the press blurb will “improve plant efficiency and reduce energy consumption.”

The automotive industry is a huge consumer of rubber products — accounting for more than 50-percent worldwide according to one study — so it’s in its own interest to find more eco-friendly alternatives.

Ford and Yokohama

Goodyear isn’t the first to experiment with soybean oil, as Ford has been using it for years, including in the construction of the legendary “soybean car” from the 1940s. More relevantly, in 2008, the Mustang came with seats filled with soy-based foam, plus a variety of vehicles from the F-150 to the Taurus now all use seals and gaskets made, in part, from soy oil.

It’ll probably come as no surprise to find that the United Soybean Board is helping out with funding on both these projects, granting Goodyear alone $500,000 over two years.

Soybean oil, for all its apparent benefits, isn’t the only game in town though, as Yokohama already produces tires that use an oil extracted from orange peel in its tread.

The very Japanese-sounding dB Super E-spec tire is an option for some hybrid cars, while the Avid Ascends are available for all cars, plus the company produces a race version called the Advan ENV-R2. Yokohama says its Super Nano-Power Rubber Compound (yes, really) has 80-percent less petroleum rubber than a conventional tire, and provides improved grip and lower rolling resistance.

A more expensive tire?

The Goodyear soybean oil tire will go on display at Ford’s research center in Michigan next month, but the company has yet to say how much a set will cost when they go on sale.

We can look at Yokohama’s dB Super E-spec and Avid Ascend tires to get an idea of how much more expensive they’ll be over a regular tire though. According to tirerack.com, a set of four 215/60/R16 Super E-Specs are $712, while a set of Avid Ascends in the same size are only $448. As a comparison, the cheapest option in that size from Yokohama are the Avid Touring-S tires for $340.

So, provided you go for the Avid Ascends, it’s not all that different and as new, green technology is usually more expensive than its less eco-friendly alternative, the price difference is only to be expected. If the price of the Goodyear soybean oil tire is any higher though, adoption may suffer.

The Goodyear soybean oil tires should go on sale in 2015.

Cars

Tesla cuts workforce by 7 percent, ends referral program to trim costs

Tesla has announced plans to trim its workforce by seven percent, and it will end the referral program that rewards customers who help it sell cars. These measures are ways to cut costs and boost profits.
Cars

Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers for 2019

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Cars

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…
Cars

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Cars

Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.
News

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.
Home Theater

Spotify adds simplified Car View mode for Android users

What was once just a test is now a reality: Spotify is rolling out a new, simplified in-car user interface for all Android users called Car View, which automatically engages when the app detects a car Bluetooth connection.
Cars

Boutique carmaker Karma Automotive, legendary design firm Pininfarina team up

Karma Automotive is partnering with legendary Italian design firm Pininfarina on future luxury cars. The first product of that partnership will appear later this year, Karma said, without offering other details.
Cars

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.
Cars

Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.
Cars

Lyft and Aptiv’s self-driving car program has come a long way (but not far enough)

Many companies talk about self-driving cars, but Lyft and Aptiv are already using a fleet of them to transport paying customers in Las Vegas. Hop in for a close look at the tech of autonomous cars, and the challenges they face.