Goodyear doesn’t want to reinvent the wheel — just the tread around it. The company has introduced a futuristic, eco-friendly tire concept that adapts to each person’s driving style and never goes flat.
Called ReCharge, Goodyear’s experimental tire is designed around a tread compound stored in individual pod-like capsules. That’s where it gets its name from. Instead of putting on winter tires when the temperature drops, you can fire up a new capsule that contains winter tread and keep the basic structure. The same type of capsule can give a worn-out tire a new lease on life, too.
Goodyear didn’t provide full details about the compound that fills each capsule, though we know it’s stored in liquid form and made from an unspecified biodegradable material. It’s reinforced by fibers with a layout that is inspired by spider silk, which is one of the strongest natural materials in the world. And, because the compound wraps itself over a light, airless frame, it never deflates and can’t go flat.
Artificial intelligence-powered software generates a driver profile that customizes the compound to suit each motorist’s unique driving style. Adrenaline junkies might end up with a stickier tire to keep their car on four wheels as they race around turns, while someone taking their kids to school before commuting to work would likely receive a compound created with a focus on comfort and safety.
Goodyear cited three examples that sound like types of coffee. The first is a summer blend, which it envisions would cater to summer driving regardless of geographical location. The second is a Geneva blend, which is tailored to the streets of (and hopefully not pegged to the cost of living in) the Swiss city it’s named after. The third is Emma’s blend, which takes into account the specific needs of a motorist named Emma. The company didn’t reveal how long it takes to change a capsule.
Although it’s not ready for mass production, this novel concept would provide an alternative to throwing away old tires, or needing to keep summer and winter wheels in your garage. It’s too early to tell when Goodyear could roll out this solution, but we’re not expecting to see it in showrooms anytime soon. Tire companies speak a great deal about attention-grabbing innovations like this one, but most innovations remain at the concept stage for reasons related to cost, demand, and production constraints.
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