A novel tyre that features different tread areas could point the way to how drivers can enjoy both sporty handling and efficiency for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) SUVs.
To date, engineers have struggled to develop tyres that offer low rolling resistance to increase the car’s range whilst offering sharp, sporty dynamics expected by sporty SUV drivers.
Debuting this month on Mitsubishi’s Concept XR-PHEV II small SUV, powered by a new PHEV system, the outer third of Falken’s concept tyre comprises a primarily low rolling resistance slick surface with intelligently placed water dispersion grooves that prevent hydroplaning and also enhance wet road grip.
To offer better grip under hard cornering, the inner third of the tyre features a curved (like a motorcycle) surface that comes in greater contact with the road whilst the car is being pushed harder.
“Consumers want to have the best range with a hybrid but aren’t prepared to sacrifice an ‘involving’ driving experience with sporting dynamics,” says Matt Smith, Falken’s UK Director. “A new type of tyre is needed and this concept highlights how Falken could help SUV drivers to achieve efficiency without sacrificing a sportier driving experience.”
No production date has been set for the novel tyre but Falken believes that such bespoke tyre technology is the way tyre design will progress. “Tyres play a critical role in the way a vehicle drives and stops,” adds Smith. “Expect to see more bespoke tyres to extract the best all round performance for a car.”
Earlier this month Falken announced it now produces a bespoke version of its tyres for the new Volkswagen Passat.