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Goodyear's heat-gathering concept tire aims to charge electric cars as they drive

By Shawn Knight · 26 replies
Mar 4, 2015
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  1. heat-gathering battery concept electric car goodyear tire recharge geneva auto show

    Mobile World Congress and the Game Developers Conference aren’t the only major trade shows in March that have the tech world watching. Over at the Geneva International Motor Show, Goodyear is showing off a concept tire that could eliminate the vehicle range anxiety that many motorists have with electric cars.

    Known as BHO3, the tire uses thermoelectric and piezoelectric materials built into the tread to convert heat energy generated by the friction of the tire as it rolls across the ground into electricity. The tire also features darkened, textured patches designed to absorb additional heat and light to bolster the energy it creates.

    goodyear battery concept electric car tire recharge geneva auto show

    Goodyear didn’t reveal any other details about the tire such as how much electricity it might generate or when it may hit the roads.

    Electric vehicle range anxiety is a real concern, especially for drivers that have long commutes or those without public recharging stations nearby.

    Last year, Audi revealed it was developing a system to capture energy from mechanical friction created by a car’s suspension. As Audi R&D chief Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg noted, dampers can reach upwards of 125 degrees when working hard on a bumpy road. That energy is wasted as heat into the atmosphere.

    While one of these methods alone may not be enough to quell concerns, a vehicle that takes advantage of multiple features like this could dramatically extend the range of an electric vehicle.

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2015
  2. It's nice to be able to defy the laws of physics. I'm developing a perpetual motion machine, just like Audi is developing an electrical generator to take advantage of the up and down in the suspension. SO what? They already tried that with ocean waves and the rising and lowering tide. No workie. So Goodyear is working on a heat absorbing tire, or whatever to increase EV range, eh? Let's see how much these tires will cost, if they ever make it to market. You can buy a lot of electricity to charge your car for what these will cost. So, they really would only be utilizing resources in a more convenient place (your EV), but imagine all the resources that will go into a $1,300 tire. Could charge your car all year for the cost of one of these tires. Range anxiety? If you got range anxiety, (a long commute or no place to recharge) then why are you wanting an EV? Really makes no sense. It's like putting a little propeller on your EV to charge the batteries. The drag of the propeller (at best) will charge the batteries enough to make up for the extra drag (of the propeller).
    cmbjive likes this.
  3. I could have sworn I saw this exact position stated several other places before, with different now-ubiquitous automotive technologies plugged into the appropriate spots.
  4. OneSpeed

    OneSpeed TS Evangelist Posts: 315   +126

    I wonder how well they will perform in the snow. Probably not good for traction, and definitely out of fuel before the climb up the Matterhorn.
  5. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,590   +2,414

    Sorry Officer but that was a required burnout to charge my battery.
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 15,178   +4,125

    So Goodyear has jumped on the perpetual motion machine band wagon. Gosh, it's about time. That cart''s been a'rolling for quite a few centuries now.
  7. Nilbud

    Nilbud TS Enthusiast Posts: 37   +10

    Poor sap.
    Strangford Lough
    Rance Tidal Power Station
    Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station
    DanUK and stewi0001 like this.
  8. While I applaud people being a bit skeptical and not believing everything they hear (or say, for that matter), to compare this with a perpetual motion machine is just plain stupid. A perpetual motion machine tries to use energy that is used for other purposes - you could say it uses energy that isn't really there - so it will never work. However, when there is heat in a system that is not meant to generate heat, this heat is energy that would be a shame to waste. Converting this heat to electricity is the smart thing to do. Of course, and now I am being skeptical, the question remains whether or not this can be done cost effectively. The answer is probably not yet.

    And I guess that's what a lot of these skeptical know-it-alls get wrong: The fact that it can't be done yet, doesn't always mean it will be forever impossible. In some cases it does (perpetual motion machine), but in others, I wouldn't be so sure.
  9. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    Officer: Fair enough but do you really have to do it from robot to robot all the while chatting on your phone to that chap in the Ferrari alongside you?
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 15,178   +4,125

    Let's just say this "invention" hasn't moved past the point where Goodyear no longer needs its customers to fund the R & D for the project.

    So then, you should rush out and boot up all your vehicles with these tires, as soon as they become available. Then you can come back and tell me, "I told you so". And I in turn can ask you, "how much are you saving on your electric bill, about 50 cents a month, a little less maybe"?

    Besides, AFAIK, there are still federal tax credits available for projects considered, "green". At least there were, for people, and for corporations. I'm not sure what is still out there though
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
  11. Agree with all the comments about saving money on electric bills, cost vs benefit etc. I see one potential benefit - in scenarios where that extra 20mi is needed to the next EV charge station in the desert, maybe the "*****" who can afford to spend on an EV and the tires to match is the lucky one who makes it there safely vs. the conservative guys who skimped a few $ and rather use the money from their electrical outlets. Generally those *****" people (Elon Musk and all) will seal the next multi-million deal because they got there on time and impressed their stakehoders...so it is really an elitist approach to living green and getting the most out of every endeavor, even if it was at extra expense up front. Plus the tires look pretty good - I can imagine those on a BMW i8 :)
  12. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,818   +1,181

    I think you are loosing the point, it's not "perpetual motion" they are seeking, it's efficiency.

    What they can do now that this tech is in it's baby steps, imagine what will it mean once it's fully developed, what other things this might bring to the table.

    Imagine what would have happened if someone said "With liquid cooling we can bump our procs from 133 mhz to 166 mhz", "hey with the amount of money required to get that liquid cooling loop system we could actually buy a better proc!".
    DanUK likes this.
  13. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,605   +3,213

    So, replacing vehicle range anxiety with tire wear anxiety...I don't see how this is in anyway a good thing, with those tires being priced the same as for a Lambo - above $1,000 per tire. People will think they are better off with a traditional engine then.

    I'd rather see additional vents with mini wind turbines in them, which could be useful even when the car is stationary, and avoid inflicting another anxiety.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
  14. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +139

    This is just more stupidity. Those tires alone will probably cost more than most subcompacts.Cost is the greatest enemy of electrics. The Nissan Leaf (base price $29,010) costs almost three times a much as the Nissan Fit (base price $11,100). The Ford Focus Electric (base price $29,170) costs more than the more fun to drive Ford Focus ST (base price $24,370). And the Chevy Volt (base price $34,345) costs almost as twice as much as the Chevy Cruze (base price $16,170).

    And don't even get me started on the Tesla, which is just a toy for affluent (I thought we were supposed to be against the 1%?).

    Now, imagine throwing these very expensive tires onto these already pricey cars just so that they can keep charging the engine, which as several here already said, would be law-defying feat in and of itself. Who would buy these things?

    If the federal tax credits and state credits ever dry up, ALL of these vehicles are going bust.
  15. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,205   +2,482

    Well, there has to be a place to start. There was one in the early 1900's with electric vehicles until oil was discovered. IF - intended to be a BIG IF - they had continued development on batteries / EVs from the early 1900s until now, we just might already be driving electrics. Fast, cheap, easy is not always best.

    That said, there are a few materials out there that have come from R&D labs around the world that if they were successful in commercializing them, just might prove to work very well. A few years back, I read of a TE material that was supposed to be capable of something on the order of 90+ percent conversion of heat to electricity.

    Progress is not made without cost and high initial prices. All cutting-edge tech costs more than mainstream tech, but for those items that survive the initially steep curve, the costs inevitably drop.
  16. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,164   +1,416

    The people who buy electric cars today (besides the Tesla) I assume just want to drive a car that uses no gas for the enviro-cred. You're right, there's no economic sense in buying a Volt or Leaf, and it may be a long time before there is. When EVs get cheaper people will buy more of them, then the demand for gas will go down and the price will follow. Lower gas prices will mean less of an advantage for EVs. (note Tesla's stock price decline along side with oil's price) What a paradox! The success of EVs will actually make it harder for them to continue to be successful!

    The answer to this is they need to stand on their own as great cars. Currently only Tesla can say this, but they're way to expensive to be mainstream. One way they'll stand on their own is balancing the trade-offs of owning an EV. The biggest negatives are range and price, but if they can sell an 'efficiency package' that includes charging tires, solar sunroof, and fancy shocks, maybe that'll help. The price will come down... range is a technology problem and those tend to get solved over time.

    Defy the laws of physics? That's what I used to think about wireless electricity, and yet wireless charging is available for smartphones. You don't have to break the laws, just get around them. :)
  17. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +139

    @wiyosaya and MilwaukeeMike, the only problem is that with electrics there is an incentive that is given in order to try and get people to buy these cars. Even with incentive people aren't buying them, and there will never be a time when the cost of electrics come down to the cost ICEs for the simple fact that economies of scale will not allow them to be achieved and the cost of the energy will never be comparable. Right now, the cost of lithium is $300 per pound whereas the cost of oil is $51 a barrel.

    Also, with regards to your example of wireless electricity defying the laws of physics, MilwaukeeMike, the wireless electricity isn't so wireless as it still needs to be plugged into an outlet.
  18. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,242   +1,673

    Well I got kind of lost with the comments since they went here and there.

    As nice as the idea that Goodyear is trying, the real problem goes to that our battery technology still sucks.
  19. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 2,316   +1,534

    Your correct if talking about the short term. In the long run and like anything else, it will trickle down and be more affordable as the technology/manufacturing is improved.
    I agree with Jay Leno's comment when he once said "I believe engineering will save the world".
    That or about a 70% decrease in population lol!
  20. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,205   +2,482

    NEVER is a really, really, really long time that always comes. As I see it, you are thinking in terms of today only. Tomorrow, oil prices will rise again, in fact, in the US gas prices are starting to rise again. To think that there NEVER will be electric cars is like saying humans never die.
  21. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Evangelist Posts: 609   +85

    Are electrical cars really good for the environment? I keep seeing so many reports from city councils and mayors about the zero emission vehicles on the roads but EVERYTIME they don't seem to grasp the fact that to charge these vehicles you need to plug them in ... a plug that gets it's power from a bloody big power station burning away fossil fuels. I would like to know if the percentage of CO2 gases produces from a power station that equates to a full charge on a car is less than the total emissions of a petrol/diesel powered car running for the same distance. I presume because there is no need for an electric pump (at the gas station) and no tanked on the roads delivering the fuel which could make it lower but they haven't taken into account the fact you have to waste energy boiling water for a coffee whilst you wait for your car to charge every 100 miles :D
  22. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,552   +437

    Coal power plants are more efficient than car engines, but it is not a whole lot better and can be worse in some cases. http://www.brighthubengineering.com...are-the-efficiency-of-different-power-plants/ Manufacturing EVs includes battery making (and eventual disposal) and mining of REE for the motors.. How 'green' is that?
  23. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,205   +2,482

    It is pretty easy to pay a firm like this to produce a report that says what the entity paying for the report would like them to say. Given that this site tried to set about 50+ cookies when I browsed it, I do not have a lot of trust in them to produce an unbiased report.

    All I can say is there is misinformation out that that is designed to support a particular point of view. IMHO, that is not ideal but it is what it is.

    What you choose to believe is up to you. However, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory produced a report several years ago that said that current electric generation capacity in the US is underused. From the report:

    Note the part where is says that "All emissions in urban areas are expected to improve."

    Also note the part that says that there is "sufficient electrical generation capacity to fuel 84% of the nation's cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs or 73% of the nation's light duty vehicles." Either number is not a small number.

    Here is a link to the document where this comes from - http://energytech.pnnl.gov/publications/pdf/PHEV_Feasibility_Analysis_Part1.pdf

    There is also a part 2 of the report which can be easily found on the PNNL site. The PNNL has been researching this for a while, and I would tend to trust them much more than some "engineering firm".
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
  24. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,552   +437

    Ok, so you didn't like my source. Thats fine, and your cookie based opinion is probably valid in a lot of instances. It isn't here though. Diesel engines are around the efficiency that link says. Same with the power plants - if you think that link is biased - search out your own efficiency links for power plants and see if they differ.

    I've worked on a project with diesel engine fuel efficiencies (back in 2005-6) and had to some research on a lot of things. When I posted what I did, I did based on my knowledge and a quick search to provide a link. You can choose to believe that or not. Back in 2005 there wasn't near this level of thought for EVs, and I was working on whether or not a product that claimed to remove air from a fuel line worked or not, not trying to stick up for fossil fuels. My point here is, I didn't have the agenda you might have thought I had, and furthermore, I just pointed out that EVs maybe aren't the promised land some people think they are.
  25. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,205   +2,482

    I certainly am not a diplomat as I obviously displayed. I keep tabs on the subject because of my intense personal interest. I am aware of the efficiency of disel engines.

    What concerns me is that in my experience, people become complacent. I am willing to bet that when electric cars made their first appearance in the early 1900's, many of the same arguments were present. What bothers me is that for whatever reasons, all reaseach into their further development stopped. Part of the argument was likely that in the short term, gas/petroleum was cheaper than electric, and I am also willing to bet that another part of the argument was that petroleum-based vehicles were more efficient. The arguments against EVs won. We will never know just how far the technology would have come if research had continued.

    As I see it, humanity stands ready to make exactly the same decision regarding EVs due to exactly the same reasons. That is, that other types of transportation are currently cheaper, more efficient, etc. Perhaps progress stops, yet again, because for today, what is available is good enough without regard to the discoveries that humanity's genius has yet to uncover, and due to disinformation spread by those who only have an economic interest in maintaining the status quo.

    In the report I cited, which I personally think was extremely well-done given the political climate at that time, some extremely interesting items are presented.

    For instance, that oil imports could be cut by 52%. Some might think that there would have to be yet another source of energy that would be required to replace those imports. However, that is not the case.

    The report clearly states that current power plants operate in such a fashion that at times of off-peak loads, they must dump the unused energy to a "sink" which wastes that energy. The report goes on to say that instead of dumping that energy, there is enough electrical energy available to supply the needs of 84% of the US' fleet of cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks. Think about it - the US drops 52% of its oil imports, and without replacing those imports with another source, still powers 84% of all cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks currently on the road. I personally do not see how any arguments about the efficiency of petroleum-based transportation can out weigh the benefits of dropping such a large portion of the current dependency on it.

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