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BMW i3’s Tall Skinny Tires To Boost Efficiency (And Cut Noise)

Most people give them little thought, but tires are one of the most important components on a car.

They are, of course, your only point of contact with the road. So ultimately, tires are responsible for everything from performance, through cornering, to efficiency and noise.

Tires of the future will significantly improve the last two factors, and BMW’s i3 electric car will be among the first production vehicles to adopt the new breed of tire.

While “round and black” has long been a simplified definition for tires, their design has changed significantly over the years. Most recently, the fashion is for larger diameters and a wide footprint. The latter is a significant contributor to rolling resistance and noise.

High rolling resistance is detrimental to fuel efficiency, while noise can manifest itself as everything from a constant drone at speed to unusual sounds and resonances over different surfaces.

Pirelli is one of the tire makers aiming to change this, says Go Auto. The company is developing tires both taller and narrower than current examples. By 2020, the average tire diameter is expected to grow from 16 inches to 21. At the same time, it’ll become narrower.


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