General Motors is investing in the new National Tire Research Center with hopes to help produce new low-rolling resistance tires that will help the automaker’s fuel efficiency.
The General contributed $5 million to the new tire research facility, that is located in Halifax County, Va. GM engineers and scientists will begin work on the new tires in January, 2013.
Tire design alone can add up to seven percent better fuel economy for a vehicle, based on tread pattern, construction, material quality and processing techniques. The facilities $11.2 million tire testing equipment, known as Flat-Trac LTRe, is capable of replicating real-world driving condition, and top speeds of 200 mph. It will also replicate handling, ride, torque, and braking capabilities on various surfaces.
“This facility’s test equipment is like going from a basic telescope to the Hubble – it opens up a whole new world of possibilities,” said Frank Della Pia, a former GM vehicle dynamics manager and the current executive director for the tire research center.