Goodyear Unveils Sustainable Car Tire That Regenerates, Prevents Flats

Tires made with spider silk could be in your future.

Diagram of Goodyear's reCharge concept car tires
Goodyear's new reCharge concept tires are sustainable, self-regenerating and customizable. But are they realistic?
Goodyear
By Tobias Carroll / March 4, 2020 7:00 am

What if your car’s tires could literally regenerate new treads? What if you never had to worry about a flat because they didn’t rely on pressurization? Thanks to a new concept unveiled by Goodyear, those possibilities are edging ever closer to reality.

At Engadget, Andrew Tarantola has the story of Goodyear’s new reCharge tire concept, which was unveiled online following the cancelation of the Geneva International Motor Show. It’s an environmentally-friendly alternative to the current state of tires and, as a bonus, it also involves spiders. No, really:

The idea is essentially the same as making PlayDoh spaghetti. However instead of squishing semi-edible “dough” through a child-size pasta press, ReCharge tires extrude a high-tech compound of renewable materials including dandelion rubber and synthetic spider silk.

Goodyear’s announcement of the concept has more details, including the use of different capsules which could be used to create a customized experience. The press release notes that “these capsules allow the tread to regenerate and the tire to adapt over time to climatic circumstances, road conditions, or simply how you want to travel.”

Here’s how it would work:

Is the world ready for an Internet of Things tire? (Or four of them, technically.) It seems like this could simultaneously make car tires simpler and more complex, but the idea of a sustainable tire that won’t go flat is certainly an appealing one.

Engadget’s report notes that Goodyear CTO Chris Helsel feels that many of the materials required for this will be able to be produced at scale within the next six years, more or less — along with some of the features utilized in this concept. It’s a high-tech future for a low-tech part, but it suggests interesting things are in store.

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