Saturday 19 August 2017

Tyre race to beat electric car 'sound of silence'

There is a need to make narrower tyres
There is a need to make narrower tyres
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

The race is quickening to cope with the 'sound of silence' in electric cars so buyers will not wonder where all the noise is coming from.

As electric car model spans increase, they are going to highlight ever smaller amounts of road/tyre rumble, as well as previously unnoticed deficiencies in a car's build (uneven gaps) that would generate wind noise.

Andreas Puerschel, head of Hankook's EU Development Team, told me of the challenge. Existing engines blot out a lot of road and wind sound because even the best of them are noisier than virtually-silent electric cars.

Mr Puerschel has a large team developing tyres solely for electric cars (EVs). Like their rivals, his company has been dealing with tyres' rolling resistance for years. Now the challenge is coping with quieter EVs. Such cars are lighter too but have all their torque from the get-go - so there are conflicting demands across the board. "Customers won't want what they consider to be noisier cars," he told Motors.

With electric car numbers forecast to significantly increase, tyres comprise a key component in shaping the future. Hankook experts also say we need to reduce tyre width to reduce fuel consumption - but they still need current traction/grip levels.

Latest tyres help cut 3/4pc fuel consumption a year, they reckon. But that can't continue indefinitely, hence the need to make narrower tyres.

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