Falken has developed a new concept tyre, that would have three kind of treads, in a bid to resolve the issue between rolling resistance (and its influence on range) and the need to offer the sharp, sporty dynamics that sport SUV drivers expect. With introducing this concept, the Sumitomo Rubber Industries has given a glimpse into how the future drivers of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles may be able to enjoy both sporty handling and excellent fuel mileage.
The Falken concept tyre is set to be put to use on the Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV II, a small SUV powered by a new plug-in hybrid system. The tyre’s tread pattern can be likened to a tub of Neapolitan ice cream with its surface divided into three equal sections. Falken has given the outer surface of the tyre low rolling resistance slick surface tread with “intelligently placed water dispersion grooves” that prevent hydroplaning and also enhance wet road grip. To offer better grip under hard cornering, the inner third of the tyre features a curved surface that, according to Falken, is similar to the curved treads found on motorcycle tyres. This design means the tread pattern comes into greater contact with the road as the car is pushed harder.
Matt Smith, Falken’s UK director, said, “Consumers want to have the best range with a hybrid but are not prepared to sacrifice an ‘involving’ driving experience with sporting dynamics. A new type of tyre is needed and this concept highlights how Falken could help SUV drivers to achieve efficiency without sacrificing a sportier driving experience.”
Smith added, “Tyres play a critical role in the way a vehicle drives and stops. Expect to see more bespoke tyres to extract the best all-round performance for a car.”
No production date has been set for this novel tyre. However, Falken believes that such bespoke tyre technology is the way tyre design will progress.