This article describes the research and development efforts of five major tire companies. The present challenge is to develop new tires that will significantly help improve fuel economy on the 1978 cars. The auto companies have indicated that the profitable operation of the Detroit companies hinges on how large a car they can provide to the public, while still meeting the rapidly climbing mileage standards. It is noted that the greatest opportunity for improving a car's fuel economy is through tire design. Once a car achieves steady state operation on the highway, 15 to 25% of the fuel is consumed by the tires. The tire companies are now carefully and repeatedly examining each component of the tire--the carcass, the bead and the tread--to see how their weight can be reduced without reducing the tires performance. Although it is felt that the bead cannot be changed, the other components can be made lighter by improving manufacturing controls so that these components can be made very accurately in the millions, eliminating the need for "padding" the material. Power consumption by tires can also be reduced by going to larger sized tires because they deflect less under the same load, even though they are heavier. The five major tire companies are now preparing to produce small, high-pressure spare tires for intermediate and compact cars. These wheels will be an inch larger than the car's regular wheels, but the overall circumference will be almost four inches less. The ultimate spare tire is the "no spare". The most popular one now appears to be the tire with a fiberglass stabilizer inside the casing.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Automotive Industries International

    Chilton Way
    Radnor, PA  United States  19089
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  • Publication Date: 1977-5-15

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00167455
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 16 1978 12:00AM