Yokohama Wants to Put Spoilers on Your Tires for Aero
19 October 2015 - Autoblog
n an effort to improve efficiency, it's quite common for modern vehicles to use wings and vents to direct the air flowing around them in motion.
Yokohama is developing ways to bring that concept to an entirely new place – your tires. The Japanese brand's rubber features fins all the way around, and they reportedly help improve fuel economy by cleaning up the aero along the side of the body and underneath.
Yokohama first started experimenting with fins on the inner sidewall in late 2012 and found that they decreased drag in the wheel well. The latest design had the help of a supercomputer at a Japanese university. Now, the company is placing the angled airfoils around the outer shoulder to find more improvements. In motion, the stabilizers help reduce drag when at the top of the rotation, "while suppressing vehicle aerodynamic lift when on the lower part of the tire," according to the company. Unfortunately, it's still rather vague about how significant the efficiency gains actually are.
For now, Yokohama's computer renders don't provide a great idea of how big the fins are. The company also isn't saying when this odd design might ever make production. Thankfully, we get to see these winged wonders when the company unveils a prototype tire with them at the Tokyo Motor Show at the end of October.