Tire industry should prepare to adapt to automotive trends

- Oct 12, 2018-

The tire industry needs to continue to adapt as autonomous and electric vehicles become more popular. Vice president of operations in North America, Popio presented the development of the automotive industry driven by ACES or autonomous, connected, electric and shared vehicles at an international tire exhibition and conference in Akron on September 9. He introduced this in a speech entitled "three major automotive trends and their implications for tyres."


As a major trend, he said, new models pose new challenges for tire manufacturers, especially in terms of weight gain.

"Tesla weighs 700 pounds more than the Honda Accord," he said. "these tires are heavy. This means that the tyres will have to carry more loads. "

Electric cars are also faster off the line, he said, with additional torque "that pulls some rubber off the tire." Electric car tires will need to be more efficient, providing longer range and less rolling resistance. Electric cars also mean extra engine room noise, and tyres will have to play a role in solving the problem.

"what is the impact of all this on vehicle handling?" Said Popio. "I guess the back. Is there more weight? what does it mean for cargo loading and overall performance? "

With more load capacity and other challenges, tire manufacturers will have to consider things such as car contact patches. Popio says electric cars may need bigger ones. Thinning, narrow tires may mean they rotate more, which would run counter to the efficiency goals of electric vehicles.

Autonomous challenge

Autonomous cars pose additional problems, he said, because they must travel on public roads and avoid collisions while complying with traffic rules. By 2030, according to market research, 70 million third-class vehicles will be on the road (manually driven but with some safety features). Within the same time frame, about 30 million Class 4 vehicles will be in operation, and in most cases they will be completely autonomous. There are estimated to be about 5 million level 5 or fully autonomous vehicles. There is no current federal regulation on self-driving vehicles.

Popio said the tyres of autonomous cars need to be more durable and more load-carrying because they may also be electric vehicles. The occupant may miss the sensory hint of the upcoming tire problem, remove it from actual driving behavior, and the vehicle will need to perceive its ability. Tyres also need to sense environmental feedback and manage comfortable rides by easing bumps on the road.

In addition to being able to detect pressure and temperature, autonomous cars also need tyres with sensor characteristics, Popio said. These tyres also need to be compatible with multiple vehicle interfaces from different manufacturers as consumers replace the original equipment manufacturer's tires during the car's life cycle.

"Will the interface be the same?" Can you put the tires in? "he said. "how does this car know what to do?" How will we deal with compatibility? "

The new business model, another key trend, will shape the future of the tire industry, Popio said. Ride-hailing services such as Uber (Uber) or Lyft remain popular, with double-digit growth from a year earlier. Ride-sharing service-customers can rent, use and return cars-not very popular, but still in use. Another new method is the subscription model, where customers subscribe to a class of vehicles and trade individual vehicles for use according to the needs of a day.

In all three cases, the tire industry will change, Popio said, as dealer networks become less useful and direct relationships with auto companies become more common. Because car ownership is low, the team mentality may be a conventional approach, while individual brands of tyres may not matter.

With this trend, one of the highest fees for the tire industry will be to boost durability, similar to the trucking industry, Popio said. In addition, auto companies look for increased tire wear, fuel efficiency and low cost because brand awareness becomes less important.