Goodyear: Electric cars bring new challenges to tyre development

Published by Stephen Goodchild
30th April 2021
Goodyear: Electric cars bring new challenges to tyre development

The performance stats of recently-launched electric cars highlight that electrification not only eliminates emissions, it also raises the bar in regards to sheer acceleration and instant performance. Electric saloons from manufacturers such as Audi and Porsche can hit 60 mph faster than many traditional supercars. For Goodyear, this brings exciting new challenges for tyre design and development.

Goodyear’s challenge is to create tyres that can harness the immense torque of these supercar slayers while delivering the comfort, durability and low rolling resistance required from this premium luxury end of the vehicle market. The fruits of its labours can be seen in original equipment tyres such as the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 supplied to the Audi e-tron GT.

Enhancing performance & range

Four-door saloons such as the RS version of the e-tron GT can produce more than 600 hp, taking their occupants from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in as little as 3.3 seconds. This level of acceleration demands a performance tyre to match.

The Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 had already found favour as a UHP fitment for combustion engine performance cars and hot hatches by the time several manufacturers selected the tyre as original equipment for their electric super saloons. To accommodate their electro-specific requirements, Goodyear focused on technologies that maximise their performance, handling, comfort and long range abilities.

For car makers, Goodyear has developed the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 in 17- to 21-inch fitments. Half these sizes have an ‘A’ rating for rolling resistance, supporting the need for long-range versatility. Goodyear also offers its RunOnFlat technology as an option for OEMs wanting to remove the requirement for a spare wheel or tyre repair kits. This means more space can be freed up for batteries, thus boosting the range and power.

When Audi chose Goodyear for the Audi e-tron GT quattro and RS e-tron GT, Goodyear optimised performance by reducing flex in the tread pattern, resulting in precise steering and higher grip levels.

At the forefront

With Porsche and Tesla also choosing Goodyear for their high-performance electric saloons, Goodyear says it “is clear” that it is “at the forefront” of developing tyres that can harness the power whilst delivering efficiency. Laurent Colantonio, Goodyear’s regional technology director for Consumer Tires in EMEA, explains the challenges of tuning tyres for powerful electric cars: “Tyres need to be able to cope with the instant torque and additional vehicle weight. There was also a need to help increase driving range between charges and reduce road noise, which is more noticeable with a quiet electric motor.

“When we develop a tyre to suit an electric car, there’s specific areas to focus on. We can tune the tread’s sipes to allow for a larger rubber contact patch. The tyre can then better cope with high levels of torque while maintaining high performance in wet conditions. Our work on the tread design also prevents sound waves from entering its grooves, reducing noise. We can also optimise the cavity shape to support additional weight and modify the tread compound to extend the vehicle range while coping with high levels of torque.”

Electrifying performance on road & racetrack

Goodyear’s electric vehicle and motorsport knowledge aided the company’s selection as exclusive tyre supplier and founding partner of Pure ETCR, the world’s first all-electric multi-brand touring car series. The unique treaded race tyre it developed for Pure ETCR shares a great deal of technology with the Eagle F1 SuperSport road tyre, but has been optimised to maximise the performance of the 500 kW (670 hp) Pure ETCR race cars. The race tyre features the same Power Shoulder of the road tyre to improve cornering performance through its massive closed outside pattern, while the super stiff sidewall design of the High Force Construction technology results in better handling and driving stability.

“This development of the Eagle F1 SuperSport for race cars and the Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5 for super saloons shows Goodyear is setting the pace when it comes to developing tyres for the most extreme electric vehicles” concludes Colantonio.