As the concerns about the fast drying sources of fossil fuels are increasing every day, automakers are never at peace as far as developing fuel saving technologies are concerned. However, developing a tech without compromising too much with the performance of the car is a real challenge. Some of the measures that w e have seen so far include reducing the engine size and overall weight of the car, refining the aerodynamics, engine start stop technology, cylinder deactivation, adding hybrid system… and many others.
General Motors is taking initiative to explore more possibilities for improving fuel economy. For that matter, GM is investing $5 million into a newly opened National Tire Research Center in Virginia to help develop tire technology to increase the fuel economy of the vehicles. The research center will help produce new low resistance tires and scientists will begin work on the same in January, 2013. The center has tire performance machines that will help car and tire makers with new tire designs, tread pattern, construction, material quality as well as processing technology.
The institute has Flat-Trac LTRe tire testing machine worth $11.2 million which replicates the real road like conditions and spins a tire up to 200mph. The Machine also replicates the various other road situations like replicate handling, ride, torque, and braking on various road conditions – rough, smooth, dry and wet – to come up with vehicle performance and change tire traits to improve it.
With no precedent in the world, the National Tire Research Center hopes to open various possibilities in the field and an apt tire design can boost fuel economy up to 7 percent. We hope to see a great transformational leap in tire technology with a great insight into tire building in future that not only offer better grip on road but boost fuel economy too.