Goodyear showed off a new tire with living moss inside.
This year’s Geneva Motor Show has been heavily focused on electric vehicles, the environment, and just generally trying to be greener. Goodyear took the auto show’s focus to another level with the debut of their Oxygene eco-tire concept. According to Car and Driver, the tire itself is packed with living green moss.
What at first might seem like a clever marketing gimmick, actually could have a serious impact on the future of automakers, as they look to directly deal with the environmental impact. The Oxygene tire features living moss in its side wall that allows the tire to absorb moisture through its tread, inhaling carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen via photosynthesis, and effectively cleans the air. Goodyear explained that if all vehicles in a metropolitan area of 2.5 million used their new concept tire, it would absorb 4000 tons of CO2 per year and generate 3000 tons of oxygen.
The tire is made with a 3D printer using rubber powder from recycled tires, and its structure funnels moisture through its hub and out into the moss as the car moves. Even the hubcap’s design is meant to help in the process, as it is translucent and recessed at the center, helping to allow as much sunlight to shine through as possible.
In Goodyear’s demo, three houseplants together produced 1.6 volts and 14 milliamps. The company would not say exactly what the four wheels will produce together but did say it will be enough to power an artificial-intelligence processor managing the watering of the moss as well as a visible-light communications system called LiFi. The system will allow the tire to interact wirelessly with other vehicles helping to pave the way to a future with more autonomous cars.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the Oxygene’s eco-tire will be hitting the market anytime soon. Sebastien Fontaine, a designer who worked on the concept, recently told Car and Driver that it would be a decade or more until the concept could be brought to the market. Nonetheless, the creation of the concepts points toward a future where carmakers are, at the very least, more focused on the environment, and, hopefully, might even engage in the repairing of the planet.