London - The automotive industry should shift from selling and servicing vehicles to become a mobility industry that offers transportation solutions for people and goods, a new report from Smithers recommends.
The study, titled Impact of Autonomous Vehicles in Tires to 2029, notes how electrification, autonomous vehicle (AV) technology and shared mobility, as well as the evolution of tire technology, is redefining the vehicle market.
There are, however, significant hurdles to be overcome before full AVs can be widely adopted. These vehicles will make up a relatively small part of new vehicle sales, and an even smaller part of the global vehicle parc by 2029.
Small shuttles, delivery vans and truck platooning are possible exceptions. In relation, the number of tires supplied for AV vehicles by 2029 will be small and predominately OE, according to the Smithers report.
These units are forecast to reach around 389 million AV passenger car (PC) / light truck (LT) / light commercial vehicle (LCV) and truck & bus (T&B) tire at a value of over $47 billion by 2029 – reaching about 15% of the predicted PC/LT/LCV + T&B tire market volume in 2029.
Smithers conducted a survey of opinions on whether AVs will advance the use of extended mobility tires and if so, which option – runflat or self sealing – will be used.
While not essential for AVs, non-pneumatic tires are puncture proof and offer extended mobility and less maintenance. They may benefit AVs used in urban environments, especially autonomous taxi fleets, noted Smithers.
However, the poll revealed mixed expectations from industry respondents, including the viewpoint from a significant number that more careful tire-use by AVs will reduce failure and decrease the need for extended mobility solutions.
Meanwhile, a collaboration between GM and Michelin is planning to begin commercial sales of an electric car with an airless tire – Uptis, a development of Michelin's Tweel – by 2024 and with a fully autonomous version to follow.
If successful, such moves will eventually have a major impact on tire technology, including materials, construction methods and equipment and after-sales service, according to the research report.
The study went on to forecast that the penetration of EV and AV technologies would vary significantly between regions as political considerations play a strong role in introducing the necessary legislation…
Read the full article in the May/June 2020 issue of European Rubber Journal magazine