- Goodyear's tire prototype is made 70 percent from sustainable materials, the first step towards the company's goal of a 100 percent sustainable tire by 2030.
- New materials were developed for the tire, including polyester from recycled plastic bottles and surplus soybean oil.
- Goodyear will also start testing an airless tire on delivery robots at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
This week, Goodyear made two announcements that could have big implications for the future of driving. The tire manufacturer unveiled a tire that is made 70 percent from sustainable materials and also announced that it will begin testing an airless tire on small delivery robots.
In 2020, Goodyear set a goal to create a tire constructed entirely from sustainable materials by 2030, and this new tire prototype is the first major step towards that ambition. The sustainable materials in the tire help reduce Goodyear's reliance on petroleum-based products. Carbon black—which reinforces and lengthens the life of the tire compound—is traditionally made by burning petroleum, but instead Goodyear created carbon blacks from methane, carbon dioxide, and plant-based oil, resulting in fewer carbon emissions in the production process.
Goodyear also utilized surplus soybean oil from the food and animal feed industries to help keep the tire's rubber flexible in changing temperatures. Silica, meanwhile, is needed to boost grip and lower fuel consumption, so Goodyear created a new form of silica made from a byproduct of rice processing, called rice husk ash, that often ends up in landfills. Goodyear also crafted tire cords by recycling the polyester found in plastic bottles. The sustainable tire is only a demonstration product for now, but Goodyear's developments bode well for the future.
Along with the eco-friendly tire prototype, Goodyear announced a test program for a non-pneumatic, or airless, tire. The tire will be tested by Starship Technologies, which builds and operates more than 1000 last-mile autonomous robots that deliver packages and food. The airless tire is meant to extend tire life and decrease maintenance for Starship’s fleet, and the testing will take place at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. This is not the first time we've seen airless tires, with Michelin testing its own version on Chevy Bolts back in 2019.