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IPFS News Link • Transportation

Goodyear's "rechargeable" concept tire extrudes extra tread as needed

•, By Loz Blain

Electric cars, of course, will theoretically need very little in the way of maintenance. There's no oil changes or belts or timing chains to do, and regenerative braking does the lion's share of the stopping work, so even your brake pads will rarely need changing. Tires, on the other hand, will still require you to take your car to a workshop and wait around as they're being changed. In the age of instant gratification, this might start feeling like an anachronism.

Enter Goodyear's reCharge concept. The idea is to have a wheel that squirts out tire tread from a central reservoir as and when you need it, with replaceable cartridges that let you tailor the compound mix to your needs. The wheel itself seems to have some flex built into it, a la Michelin's iconic Tweel design, to replace the smooth ride offered by a pneumatic tire, and the hub's got an aperture in the middle that you can poke a new tread capsule into.

The tread compound would be biodegradable, made from biological materials and reinforced with fibers "inspired by" spider silk. This is science fiction at this stage, so let's roll with it. Individualized tread compounds would be designed for each driver's usage profile using artificial intelligence, because of course they would. And the treads would allegedly be super-durable, even if making an extra-durable tread would appear to be a counter-incentive to the idea of making tires that are extra-easy to recharge.