Tyres of the future

The future of tyre development is unknown. Twenty years ago, the idea of Nokia manufacturing summer tyres for speed category Y (300 km/H) seemed quite futuristic. Nonetheless, in 2010 Nokian Tyres launched its fourth generation of speed category Y tyres – the Nokian Hakka Black. Although we always strive to utilise all the latest knowledge and information in the development of our tyres, there are always ways in which to improve and manufacture even more demanding products.

We face almost the same challenges in tyre development today as we did ten years ago. However, different properties have been emphasised in different times. In recent years, EU regulations have given rise to a huge trend in decreasing the rolling resistance of tyres. This development is likely to continue on a large scale. The EU’s aim is to halve the current traffic-induced carbon dioxide emissions by 2025. To achieve this goal, rolling resistance must be significantly decreased in the next ten years.

Same tyres all year round?

Tyres that could be used all year round would be a nice invention, but unfortunately one that is not likely to see the light of day any time soon – particularly not in the Nordic countries, where different weather conditions call for different materials and technologies. However, the number of tyre options with different primary properties is likely to increase, to better meet the needs of various drivers and vehicles.

While a variety of needs and wishes can be taken into consideration with regard to tyre properties, such as rolling resistance and grip over wet surfaces, there is one property that is not likely to change. That is the black colour of tyres. The colour is the result of industrial soot, which is used as a binding material in tyres and which dyes the tyre material, effectively preventing any other colour options. If we were to produce tyres in the latest trend colours, we would have to compromise on qualities such as durability. Colourants also contain harmful ingredients, and their use would complicate the recycling of tyres.

No flying cars in sight

Despite flying cars being the primary transportation method in many sci-fi films, it seems that tyres designed for the road will be needed for a long time yet. To be able to react to changing requirements and produce the right kinds of tyres, tyre developers need to follow trends in the car industry closely. In the future, new types of engines, such as hybrid and electric engines, as well as new power transmission solutions and driving automation systems will place new demands on tyre development and change its direction depending on the desired properties. A vision more probable than the flying vehicle is a self-steering car that automatically finds its way to the destination, makes observations faster than humans can, and follows the traffic environment more closely using various camera and sensor systems.

Comments

  1. Barum bravuris 2 says:

    Really great and interesting article! I enjoy reading your blog.

  2. SeanC says:

    It’s too bad that we can’t have coloured tyres :) I think red would be perfect colour for some tyres, but it’s completely understandable that the colour can’t be changed. At least we have the different variations of rims to decorate our cars with.

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