Hi Friends! Hope you’re well today. I welcome you on board. In this post today, I’ll explain how a 21st century tire industry will revolutionize the market.
Tire changing and purchasing is a controversial issue for many Americans, with non-insurance purchases that are often arguably expensive. This is set to change with the rise of Tire Agent, who TechCrunch highlighted as receiving $5m in new financing in their bid to remove the mystique from tire purchasing and installation. Using smart data, they’re aiming to pull together buyers, sellers, and mechanics across the country and provide a truly equitable purchase map for those in need.
With this data, the industry will be revolutionized, and technology will change how motorists deal with their tires forever in much the same way solar energy has transformed the market already.
One of the aims of the startup is to provide engineering information directly to customers. This would be a huge overhaul for American drivers; the NY Post estimates that 68% of motorists are not only lacking knowledge about their vehicle, but they’re scared of repairing it too.
With the data on offer from these startups, motorists will have the confidence to do tire changes, know how to efficiently check tire pressure, and potentially tackle more challenging costs – or at least run diagnostics before they get to the shutters of the mechanics’ shop.
Straight away, this will lead to changes in how tire engineering is viewed, with a movement towards the consumer market required, and less focus is given to the needs of mechanic shops and the closed-shop market.
Better pricing, better innovation
Arguably, the cost of tires and the labor that goes into replacing older models stymies innovation.
If the tires work, and the market is enjoying the profit margin, there is less impetus for engineers to invent new forms of the tire and get them into that consumer market.
With the impetus shifted away from costly mechanic shops and into the consumer’s wallet, it’s likely that more innovation will be seen – after all, with the wealth of information available to them, consumers will make the smartest and most long-term pick available to them as opposed to simply working from time-tested recommendations from the shop or the manufacturer.
This is already creating the need for innovation in tires.
Changing with the weather
A primary reason for road users to get into the garage is to have weather-hit tires repaired or adapted. Think snowshoe and chain in winter, or rubber reinforcements on particularly hot asphalt.
Increasingly, tires are starting to actively adapt to the weather, reducing the necessity for any changes at all off the road.
According to CNET, Continental has been market leaders with this innovation though many businesses have created their own variants.
What does this mean for consumers? Once again, putting the entire functionality and adaptability of the vehicle back into their hands will mean less time with the mechanic and a greater degree of control over what their car is going to do and how it performs.
It might even help consumers to get more involved with the technology behind tire engineering.
A self-sealing future?
Self-sealing tires are common these days, but they have their drawbacks. In August 2019, CNBC raised the prospect of fully self-repairing, smart tires. Similarly, Michelin debuted a tire that doesn’t need to be inflated at all.
With these smart tires on the market, the engineering outlook for tires and vehicles, in general, will be completely changed – the focus will be shifted onto improving these innovations and making them suitable for a wider market, and easily accessible for vehicles of all types.
This once again gives more power to the consumer, pulling them away from mechanics and towards being positive about the technology they can deploy their vehicles to keep them on the road and healthy for longer
Ultimate energy efficiency
Pairing with the sustainable goals of the seal-sealing tire is the car-charging tire. As tires produce motion and potential energy that has the potential to be turned into actual efficient energy for the car to deploy.
According to Interesting Engineering, this is becoming a reality that will help to see cars self-powered to an even greater degree. Goodyear’s BH03 concept is nothing new that was released in 2015 and has seen huge developments since then.
Now, the concept is being plugged for active use, first in electric vehicles to give primary drive power but also, potentially, in combustion vehicles, to provide plenty of ways of charging the car battery that relies on sustainable tools.
Whatever form cars take, it’s undeniable that they add emissions to the world – this is true whether from a classic combustion engine emissions, or the carbon cycle of producing any other vehicle.
Can tires combat this? Another Goodyear concept focuses on their ‘Oxygene’ concept, which adds biological material to the outside of the tires. The purpose of this is to actively filter onrushing air from the car as it travels, producing net benefits for the air around the vehicle as it moves.
This seems like wishful thinking but these ‘green benefits’ are being used across a wide range of industries – for instance, green roofing has been a norm in many American cities for years now. It might not be too long until the average road user sees hundreds of green hubcaps and tires as they take their drive across the nation’s roads – and that they’ll enjoy the benefits, too, with clean air on the way.
With this new generation of tires being green energy focused, this could easily mean a wholesale shift in tire production.
A relatively static market can start to fully utilize materials science to innovate new products. This will be demonstrated in a huge range of products, but with sustainability often the goal, expect innovation hours and cash to be plunged into the likes of self-sealing tires and sustainable EV products.
This will ultimately benefit the wider market and thus the engineers looking to make their name in the auto industry.