WASHINGTON-Goodyear will supply tires for Chrysler Corp.'s new generation of vehicles-the Plymouth Prowler sports car, to be introduced in January, and the Chrysler EPIC electric minivan, which ran in the ``Tour de Sol'' electric/solar vehicle race in May. The EPIC minivan, or ``Electric-Powered Interurban Commuter,'' has an AC traction motor supplied by Westinghouse Corp. Weighing nearly 6,000 lbs., the vehicle can travel up to 60 miles between recharging at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour.
Because of its weight and limited range, the minivan must have as little ``drag'' as possible. Its original-equipment Goodyear tires are designed with innovative tread patterns and lightweight compounds to have the lowest rolling resistance available, combined with reasonable traction and long tread-life, according to Goodyear Senior Tire Design Engineer Tom Lamp. Mr. Lamp designed the special ``easy-rolling'' tires for the electric minivan.
The 1997 Plymouth Prowler, meanwhile, will be equipped with the Eagle GS-D EMT, Goodyear's new ``extended mobility'' tires. The Eagle GS-D EMT can run up to 50 miles at 50 mph at zero inflation, and has a directional tread pattern for good high-speed wet traction.
Goodyear and Chrysler are among the major sponsors of the Tour de Sol, which is organized by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association. The 350-mile, New York-to-Washington race, conducted at normal highway speeds, is designed to encourage the development and demonstrate the utility of alternative-fueled vehicles.