GM and Partners Burn Rubber to Improve Fuel Economy

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For

Immediate
Release:
Wednes
day,
Nov.

21
, 2012


GM

and

Partners

Burn

Rubber to
Improve Fuel Economy

National Tire Research Center to

speed
testing,
development of
fuel
-
efficient

tires

DETROIT


General Motors’ drive to improve
vehicle
fuel economy
is expected to
gain

traction
in January when

GM

engineers and
scientists

begin
work with

research partners

to accelerate
the development of tire technology
at
the
new
National Tire Research
Center

in Halifax County,
Va
.


The

world
-
class facility
,
to

which GM
contributed
$5 million,

uses

state
-
of
-
the
-
a
rt
tire
performance

machinery that will enable

automakers and tire

manufacturers to rep
licate

real
-
world emergency events and improve vehicle highway safety.

By some estimates, t
ire design can
help improve fuel efficiency by
up

to 7 percent
.
A tire’s
r
olling resistance

is determined by variations in
tread pattern,
construction, material quality an
d
processing techniques.

Ultimately, t
he lower the
rolling
resistance, the less fuel is needed

to
move the vehicle forward
.

L
ow rolling resistance tires
are expected to

help customers save money at the gas pump, as will
m
ore efficient
conventional
engines

and electric powertrains
.




The work we’ll undertake at the National Tire Research Center will have a big impact on how
quickly next
-
generation tire technologies will be developed and the accuracy of their design and
engineering
,” said

Ken Morris, GM’s
executive
director of Global Vehicle Performance and
Safety, and proving grounds and test labs
.

Morris attended the center’s ribbon
-
cutting ceremony

in October
.


The center’s

$11.
2

million tire
performance
test
equipment,

known as

Flat
-
Trac LTR
e
,

is unique
in its use of electric motor technology and can run a tire up to 200 mph. It provides data on
handling, ride, torque, and braking capabilities on various surfaces, including wet road
conditions.

GM was instrumental in developing the machine’s te
st specifications.

The Flat
-
Trac LTR
e

is capable of replicating all driving maneuvers of a passenger car or light
truck on the road. GM and other automotive engineers will be able to use the data collected by
the equipment to predict vehicle performance an
d modify tire characteristics to improve
performance for low rolling resistance, better road
-
holding capability
and other criteria
.

“T
his facility’s test equipment is like going from a basic telescope to the Hubble


it opens up a
w
hole new world of possibilities,”
said Frank Della Pia,
a former GM vehicle dynamics manager
who is
executive director for

the tire research center
.

It can test tires in the full ran
ge of the
performance spectrum.
This

facility has no peer

in the world
.
I
t’
s going to enable

a
transforma
tional leap in tire technology.”

The center’s facilities

also include the Southern Virginia Vehicle
Motion (SoVa Motion)
Laboratory
,
strategically located in the heart of the Virginia Motorsports Alley at the

Virginia
International Raceway.
SoVa Motion

offers shock and suspension testing, virtual prototyping of
vehicle components, and a range of on
-
vehicle sensing
such as wheel force transducers.

SovaMotion will take advantage of the Tire Center’s test data to

conduct

drive and handling
simulation
s

that
could
help reduce time and cost of vehicle program development.

“T
he
work

GM
will do with

SovaMotion and the National Tire Research Center will further
improve laboratory test methods and improve our overall veh
icle development process,” Morris
said. “Ultimately, that means better vehicles for our customers.”


General Motors Co.

(NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the
company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest
-
growing automotive markets. GM’s
brands include Chevrolet and Cadillac, as well as Baojun, Buick, GMC, Hold
en, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel,
Vauxhall and Wuling. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global
leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at
http://www.gm.com
.




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