To gain insight into how the tire industry perceives the tire of tomorrow, ERJ’s sister magazine, Rubber & Plastics News surveyed a handful of major tire makers, asking about a number of game-changing aspects of tire design. Bridgestone Americas Inc.; Contintental Tire the Americas LLC; Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.; Goodyear; Hankook Tire USA; Michelin North America Inc.; Pirelli Tyre S.p.A.; and Sumitomo Rubber North America responded*:
Q: Looking 10+ years down the road, what tire performance criteria do you anticipate will be most important? (e.g. – rolling resistance; weight; all-season vs. winter grip; puncture-resistance; tread life; etc.) How will that differ from today?
BRIDGESTONE: As OEMs continue to look for ways to address CAFÉ standards and adoption of electric vehicles becomes more widespread, tires with lower rolling resistance and lower total weight will be increasingly important.
As fully autonomous vehicles become standard, we also expect to see consumers' performance expectations shift. In the future, cars will become the ultimate riding machine and tire solutions that reduce NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) will be even more critical.
Along these same lines, tires that offer extended mobility also will be a huge area of opportunity for tire manufacturers in the next 10-15 years. Run-flat technology and longer tread life will be critical as trends in autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing continue to grow. Consumers will look to fleets to provide uninterrupted service, and fleet managers will look to keep vehicles running more efficiently, longer.
Finally, tire manufacturers will continue to use innovations in polymer science and explore more sustainable sources of natural rubber to deliver on key sustainability commitments without sacrificing supply or performance.
CONTINENTAL: From an end-consumer perspective, we do not anticipate a big change per segment/region: Americas—mileage/convenience; Asia/Pacific—comfort; Europe—safety.
OE continues pushing for rolling resistance while the balance of vehicle dynamics, noise and safety is customer specific, with electrification mileage and grip as well as energy efficiency (is not RR but most probably something that most of the time correlates) might get more important.
If the passenger/light truck fleet business grows, total cost of ownership will be key.
COOPER: While it's unclear exactly what the future will hold, it is very likely that a more diversified range of vehicles operating with a variety of propulsion systems will enter the market in the years to come. New and different tires will be required for efficient vehicle operation. Development of these vehicles and tires presents an exciting challenge. Technology and progress go hand in hand, and we welcome that challenge at Cooper Tire.