Oxygene is the plant-based green tyre of the future

Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, this innovation could become the norm for automobile design in years to come.

Taking a literal approach to “going green”, tyre manufacturer Goodyear has released a wheel prototype that is meant to clean the air as you drive along in your car. Oxygene is a tyre that integrates living moss in its sidewall and generates its own light. It was unveiled at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show where leading automobile designers showcase experimental technologies and futuristic solutions.

Oxygene is meant to improve air quality while you travel on the road. Its open structure allows it to transfer moisture from the tread of the wheel to the mossy interior easily. Better still, this design is 3D-printed out of recycled materials and houses technology meant to keep pedestrians out of harm’s way.

The moss cultures in the wheel catch and devour carbon dioxide on the go, turning it into clean oxygen through photosynthesis. Hidden inside the green tyre is a smart system of light signals, harnessing the excess energy of photosynthesis to let pedestrians know when the car is about to turn, stop or take off. This light communication system, or LiFi, could become central in the design of autonomous cars as it would allow vehicles to interact with one another wirelessly.

With 300 million tyres being dumped in landfill sites each year in the US alone, Goodyear answers a major ecological problem with the 3D-printed Oxygene concept. At a time when the world is grappling with how to abate global warming and how to discard millions of rubber tyres sustainably, the Oxygene prototype could open up an entirely new chapter for the world of transport.

“Oxygene is meant to challenge our thinking and help drive the debate around smart, safe and sustainable future mobility," said the President of Goodyear Chris Delaney. "By contributing in this way to cleaner air generation, the tire could help enhance the quality of life and health for city-dwellers."