GM and National Tyre Research Centre to develop new tyre technology


General Motors Co. (GM) ventures with Virginia-based National Tyre Research Centre (NTRC) to develop a new tyre technology that can improve fuel-efficiency of tyres.


GM is investing an estimated US$5 million into the facility in Halifax County,  which uses state-of-the-art tyre performance machinery called  Flat-Trac LTRe  that can simulate real-world emergency events and improve vehicle highway safety.  The US$11.2-million machine is unique in its use of electric motor technology and can run a tyre up to 200 mph.


The said technology is projected to improve fuel efficiency by up to 7% with its low rolling resistance feature, which can help customers save money at the gas pump, as will more efficient conventional engines and electric powertrains.


GM and other automotive engineers will be able to use the data collected by the equipment to predict vehicle performance and modify tyre characteristics to improve performance for low rolling resistance, better road-holding capability and other criteria.


Included in the centre’s facilities is the  Southern Virginia Vehicle Motion (SoVa Motion) Laboratory. The latter offers shock and suspension testing, virtual prototyping of vehicle components and a range of on-vehicle sensing such as wheel force transducers.


SovaMotion will also utilize the centre’s test data to conduct drive and handling simulations that could help cut time and cost of vehicle program development. (RJA)