As the industry looks towards more innovative methods of battery management in electric vehicles, one solution could come from a new tire innovation, which harvest energy from static electricity as they turn.
The new technology concept unveiled by tire manufacturer Falken, called Energy Harvester, features two layers of rubber each covered in an electrode, along with a negatively charged film that interfaces with a positively charged film. When fixed to the inside of a conventional tire it generates electricity as the tire deforms during rotation, in a process known as frictional charging.
The Energy Harvester is being developed by engineers in Japan. Falken’s parent company, Sumitomo Rubber Industries, together with Professor Hiroshi Tani of Kansai University.
While the amount of energy produced is not enough to fully power an electric vehicle, the possibilities of energy-generating tires could power sensors for TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems) and other automotive devices without the need for batteries.
Sumitomo Rubber Industries will now advance this research with support from the Japan Science and Technology Agency.