Besides incorporating new tire modeling technology into its development processes, Cooper is evaluating long-wearing and fuel-efficient tread compound technology for use in tires for both OE and replacement market applications, according to Chuck Yurkovich, senior vice president of global research and development.
“The technical challenges presented by this program were significant, yet the work was extremely gratifying as we addressed sustainability and performance,” Mr. Yurkovich said.
Improving vehicle fuel efficiency by at least 3 percent was accomplished by developing a product with more than 30-percent lower rolling resistance, he said, while reducing tire weight 20 percent required making product that was five to six pounds lighter than the baseline 26-pound tire.
“Our innovative approach was to develop a new energy-efficient tire profile and design in combination with an ultra-lightweight tire construction,” Mr. Yurkovich said. “The process utilized innovative materials not typically used in tires today. In all, we developed and evaluated six new technologies as part of the program's first phase.”
Cooper also evaluated the holistic impact of putting all of these technologies into a concept tire. Combining these advancements allowed Cooper to exceed the grant's aggressive goals, Mr. Yurkovich added.
Other technologies are being further developed for potential commercial applications in the future.
“While we have more work to do to fully assess commercial viability of some of these new features, we certainly have taken leaps forward in developing tire technologies with strong potential for consumer benefit,” Yurkovich concluded.