There is wind power, solar power and … tire energy.

Sumitomo Rubber develops a new tire that can restore a car’s energy while it’s driving on the road. The energy picks up the static electricity produced when the tires deform and return to their original shape while driving on the road.

Recovering energy from some of the tire rolling resistance works much like regenerative braking, improving the efficiency of recovering some of the energy that would otherwise be lost while driving. So far, the small appliances that Sumitomo attaches to the inside of the tire tread only capture a small amount of energy, enough to keep the tire pressure monitoring sensors loaded, for example. In the end, the savings could be greater.

In 2010, as Michelin introduced a new range of low-rolling-resistance tires for electric cars and hybrids, the company estimated that in an electric car up to 30 percent of the energy needed to power the car on the road went to overcome the rolling resistance. Another third was to overcome wind resistance and a smaller part of mechanical friction.

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