Slapping a giant fin on the back of your hand-me-down Corolla isn’t going to make it go any faster. But researchers at Yokohama have found that adding a series of angled fins to a tyre can actually help improve a vehicle’s aerodynamics, which in turn means better fuel efficiency and fewer stops at the pumps.
Back in 2012, the company’s research team found that adding small fins on the inner sidewalls of a tyre in a radial pattern helped reduce aerodynamic drag within a car’s wheel wells. The less resistance there is to a wheel spinning, the less a car’s engine has to work, and the less fuel is burned.
But continuing that research using supercomputer aerodynamics simulations, and working with a team from the Institute of Fluid Science at Tohoku University, Yokohama has found that adding a series of subtle fins around a tyre’s shoulder leads to other improvements.
With the fins added, the upper part of the tyre helps further reduce aerodynamic drag on the side of the vehicle while it’s spinning, while the lower part of the tyre helps reduce lift under a car which can result in a loss of traction.
For now we just have CG renders of what the fin-augmented tyres will look like, but at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, Yokohama will officially reveal what its new aerodynamic tyres will look like, and hopefully, when they’ll actually be available to upgrade your ride.