Friday, August 25, 2017

Carbon Based: Carbon Fiber Chassis Electric Vehicle on Goodyear 360's

PopularMechanics |  The tire of the future is a ball. An unbelievably sophisticated, nature-inspired, magnetic-levitation-infused ball. Goodyear just revealed its vision for a concept tire that's intended for the self-driving car of tomorrow. It's called Eagle-360, and it's totally round.

Why put a car on a quartet of glorified mouse trackballs? Goodyear says the 3D-printed tires will have a larger contact patch with the ground, allowing for more control. The design lets the tires hurl water away via centrifugal force. But the big reason is that spherical tires can be essentially omnidirectional.

PopularMechanics |  Stronger than steel and a fraction of the weight, carbon fiber is a brilliant invention. Has been for decades. Junior Johnson was building rule-bending Nascar racers out of the stuff back in the '80s. But even with all that time to come up with new sourcing and production methods, carbon fiber just won't stop being expensive. The cheapest new car with a carbon-fiber tub, the Alfa Romeo 4C, is sized for Stuart Little, yet costs as much as a Mercedes E-Class. And the real chariots of the carbon gods, the McLarens and Koenigseggs and Lamborghini Aventadors of the world, are strictly six-figure propositions. We still haven't managed to mass-produce the stuff at anything approaching the price of aluminum, let alone steel. Why hasn't anyone figured out how to make this stuff cost less?

That question is why I'm here in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy, at Lamborghini's carbon-fiber facility, laboriously squeegeeing air bubbles out of a sheet of carbon weave. I want to ask the guys in (black) lab coats who make this material: Why aren't we rolling around in carbon-monocoque Hyundais?