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Goodyear Innovation Could Make Tyre Pumps Obsolete

PRESS RELEASE 18 August 2011

New Goodyear Innovation Could Make Tyre Pumps Obsolete

US and EU Government Grants to Help Quicken Development

The days of manually adding air to under-inflated tyres could be a distant memory thanks to a new innovation under development at Goodyear.

Keeping tyres properly inflated doesn't just eliminate the practice of checking a tyre's air pressure and finding a tyre pump and gauge that works. It can also mean real savings at the fuel pump.

Whether you drive a passenger vehicle or a commercial truck, underinflated tyres result in between a 2.5 percent and 3.3 percent decrease in fuel mileage, according to US government and industry research. At today's prices, that translates to about 4 cents per litre at the pump.

Properly inflated tyres also result in lower emissions, longer tyre life, enhanced safety and improved vehicle performance.

Goodyear's Air Maintenance Technology (AMT) will enable tyres to remain inflated at the optimum pressure without the need for any external pumps or electronics. All components of the AMT system, including the miniaturised pump, will be fully contained within the tyre.

"While the technology is complex, the idea behind the AMT system is relatively simple and powered by the tyre itself as it rolls down the road," said Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear senior vice president and chief technical officer.

"A tyre that can maintain its own inflation is something drivers have wanted for many years. Goodyear has taken on this challenge and the progress we have made is very encouraging," said Kihn. "This will become the kind of technological breakthrough that people will wonder how they ever lived without."

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Goodyear did not provide an estimate as to when this technology would be available at tyre retailers, but said the timetable would be accelerated due to recent government research grants in United States and European Union.

The United States Department of Energy's Office of Vehicle Technology Wednesday announced it has awarded a US$1.5 million grant for research, development and demonstration of the AMT system for commercial truck tyres. The grant will be administered by the National Energy Technology Laboratory and work will be conducted at Goodyear's Innovation Centre in Akron, Ohio.

In July, Goodyear successfully applied for a grant from the Luxemburg government for research and development of an AMT system for consumer tyres. That work will be conducted at Goodyear's Innovation Centre in Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg.

"While similar in concept, there are significant differences in AMT systems for consumer and commercial tyres," said Kihn. "The tangible support from both the U.S. and Luxembourg governments underscores the value of these projects and the many positive benefits they can provide drivers around the world."

In addition, The DOE's Office of Vehicle Technology today also announced that it will award a US$1.5 million grant for a joint project between PPG Industries and Goodyear to improve the rolling resistance and fuel efficiency of tyres. The project's objective is to increase average fuel efficiency of passenger vehicle fleets through use of new tread and inner liner technologies.

"Advanced technologies that are invisible to the human eye - like those we are working on with PPG - will help to dramatically improve fuel efficiency of tyres while maintaining other important qualities such as traction and tread-life," said Kihn.


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