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Car tyres are in for a major redesign


We talk a fair bit about carmaking technology on this blog, from engine and fuel technologies to safety features and materials however, we haven’t really touched upon the things that connect the car to the ground, the tyres.

And according to tyre-maker Pirelli, modern tyres are all wrong, the future is tall and skinny, not squat and wide, when it comes to tyres.

It is interesting to note that this conclusion comes as a response to ever-tightening European regulations referring to the amount of noise and rolling resistance that tyres generate.

Apparently the only way of working around or within those regulations is to make tyres tall and skinny, because the current design of wide tyres is terrible for noise and rolling resistance.

The long-term solution to this problem is to make the tyres taller and skinnier because by narrowing and elongating them, you can keep the same amount of contact surface on the road while reducing noise and rolling resistance.

The standard size of a tire today is of about 16 inches, but it is projected that this standard will grow to about 21 inches by 2020, with a narrow tread and deep sidewall.

These new rules were introduced in the European Union last year and they’re expected to be changed in 2016 and 2020 in order to take into account the evolution of new tyre technology.

The highest grading you can now get for a tyre is AA – the first A stands for ultra-low rolling resistance while the second one is for wet-braking performances, but as the standards rise, it will be increasingly harder to reach those gradings without making some major changes to the overall design.

In the European system, tyre makers are required to include a sticker on their product to give an easy-to-understand score for how much noise they’ll generate, how well they brake when wet and how well they save fuel while rolling.

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