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Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Research Team Helps Ford and Future Customers Get a Better Grip on Tire Technology
July 6, 2011

Ford Motor Company has established a unique cross-functional team whose mission is to develop innovative new tires that improve safety, boost fuel economy and enhance vehicle handling.

Located at Ford's Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, the dedicated tire team works closely with Ford's Chassis Engineering and Vehicle Engineering functions, as well as leading tire companies, to test new compounds, new tread designs and other innovations.

Most automakers don't influence significantly the development of the tires they use. But tires -- the only component that touches the road while you drive -- are one of the most important components of any vehicle.

Because tire tread is the main contributor to rolling resistance, which is simply the measure of force needed to roll the wheel forward, the team has focused its immediate attention on this part of the tire.

The three key attributes to any road tire tread are traction or grip, wear and rolling resistance. The challenge to building a better tire is that often improving one attribute may compromise another. A tire with better grip, for example, may have a higher rolling resistance and therefore, energy consumption.

"Traditionally, the challenge of improving tire treads is to expand all facets of the 'magic triangle' - grip, wear and rolling resistance. We want to improve all attributes without compromising others," said Dan Haakenson, technical expert, Vehicle Dynamics. "Our goal is to anticipate, innovate and incorporate technologies to make Ford a leader in fuel economy and to help deliver superior low-rolling-resistance tires to customers faster than anyone else."
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