A new technology that allows tyres to generate electricity whilst driving is being developed by Sumitomo Rubber Industries and engineers in Japan.
Together with Professor Hiroshi Tani of Kansai University, the company has developed an Energy Harvester that takes advantage of the build up of static electricity, known as frictional charging, to produce power efficiently as the tyre turns.
Within the harvester are 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 tyre carcass it generates electricity as the tyre deforms during rotation.
Engineers also believe that this highly practical application will work with devices within electric vehicles, such as tyre pressure monitoring system, eliminating the need for additional batteries.
Although the power generated is not anywhere enough to power an EV entirely, it could be further developed to aid range and efficiency of future vehicles.
The frictional charging technology was created as part of Sumitomo’s R&D programme to develop technologies that target improvements in safety and environmental performance.