Most of the concepts on display at the 2014 Geneva auto show were cars, or some variant thereof, but Goodyear unveiled an example of its latest thinking: a concept tire designed for SUVs.
The goal of the tire was to improve SUV efficiency without sacrificing capability. Goodyear took a radical approach with this concept tire, designing it with two distinct rings.
The outer ring comprises about two-thirds of the track width and is of slightly wider diameter than the inner ring. It has a primarily slick surface with cut-ins to move water and prevent hydroplaning. Different textured surfaces also enhance road grip.
This outer ring makes contact with the road when the vehicle is on smooth pavement. Narrower than a typical SUV tire, it improves fuel efficiency.
The inner ring's smaller diameter means it will make contact when the driving surface becomes soft, such as in mud or sand. Its more aggressive cut-ins and pebbly surfaces add traction.
Goodyear constructed each ring with its own air chamber. If one ring gets punctured, the other ring will still have air, allowing the SUV to continue down the road.