Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bridgestone's "Ologic Technology" and the i3



Much has been made about the tall narrow tires on the BMW i3. They are really unlike any tire on any other car currently in production and they certainly don't look like they belong on a BMW. However BMW and Bridgestone did their homework on this, and accomplished the goals they set out to. That was to develop a tire that is not only efficient, but also delivers the performance expected of any BMW.

How did they do it? Ologic technology. Yep, they developed something so new and advanced you have never even heard of it before! So while I as the Geneva Motor Show a few weeks ago, I made it a point to stop by the Bridgestone exhibit to ask about this new mysterious "Ologic Tech". As I approached the Bridgestone area, I could see they had a Capparis White i3 on display with it all lettered up promoting this new Ologic technology, and they even had an award in a case next to it that proudly displayed that Bridgestone won the 2014 Tire Technology International award for Tire Technology of the year! Fantastic! I was even more pumped up to find out what this new Ologic technology was. Could it be a new special rubber compound or tread pattern?  I was about to find out.


Tire Technology International Awards 2014 winner interview – Tire Technology of the Year

So after asking the information desk for someone to interview I was introduced to a Brigestone product manager to answer my questions. I didn't waste any time. My first question was: What exactly is Ologic technology? I don't have the exact words he used but to paraphrase he basically said "Ologic Technology is our way of creating an efficient tire that still offers optimum performance. By using a very tall narrow tire we simultaneously reduce drag, rolling resistance and tire deformation. The height of the tire in relation to the width also increases the contact patch which allows for retain the dynamic driving characteristics of a much wider tire" So Ologic is just a name of a concept, not any specific rubber compound or such? Yes. Alright well that was a little let down because I figured I was going to get a lesson on rubber or tread or something other than what I heard.

So why are they so special? They must have done something right to win the Tire Technology of the Year award, no? Here is an excerpt of how Bridgestone explains why these are indeed special:

"A Unique Concept for a Unique Car
 
BMW has achieved a genuine milestone with the i3 electric car. Doing justice to its unprecedented levels of both efficiency and performance demanded more than just a new tyre but an entire new tyre concept. Bridgestone’s answer came in the form of the ologic technology, which capitalises on the synergies of a large diameter coupled with a narrow tread design. The result is a tyre that delivers significant improvements in aerodynamics and rolling resistance, while still offering outstanding grip in wet weather conditions.

Combining a large diameter with a narrow tread pattern has several advantages. While the tread on smaller diameter tyres is typically inclined to excessive movement or “deformation” during driving, the larger diameter and higher belt tension significantly reduce tyre deformation and therefore conserve energy that is otherwise lost through internal friction which helps to reduce rolling resistance. By the same token, the narrow tread concept improves aerodynamics. The most spectacular achievement, however is that these improvements do not involve a trade-off in terms of safety. The tyre’s long contact patch (relative to its narrow width),  revolutionary tread design and compound still ensure outstanding grip in both wet and dry conditions."



They have obviously done something right because even though they look like they would be better suited on a motorcycle, the i3 handles exceptionally with them. I've spoken to quite a few people now that have had an i3 on a race track and all of them were genuinely surprised at how well the car performed. In a few weeks I should be taking delivery of my i3 and I can the really put the "Ologic Technology" to the test. :)


9 comments:

  1. Awesome!
    Tom...
    I was reading on the JMK BMW website about how they delivered the first ActiveE to a "Mr. and Mrs. Moloughney". Two months later, they gave an ActiveE too a "Mr. Neff". Hmm... Would you happen to know anything about that?

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    1. Not sure exactly what you are asking there. Chris Neff got his ActiveE from JMK also, but he didn't wait 2 months from when I got mine. I did get the first ActiveE delivery but Chris got his not too long after, I'd say about a week I think. I don't know why JMK has it as two months later though, if they do.

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    2. Wait no... I think it was two months later leases began for the general public. Chris did get his ActiveE about a week later. Maybe I misread it.

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  2. Wonder how they handle the cracks and potholes on the winter-torn roads. Bridge joists and tram rails may also pose a hazard. Hopefully the large diameter helps.

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  3. Tom
    This blog has twice as many viewers as the ActiveE blog. Do you think you can relate to that?

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  4. Tom
    This is how my EV obsession got started:
    I was in a nearby town getting some supplies when I saw a car pass by that I had never seen before. In our area, we don't see EVs AT ALL! I didn't recognize the car, so I looked at the back to see if I could spot the name. I recognized the name on the back. It said: Tesla. It was a Roadster! I got so excited because I never saw a Tesla Roadster before. I looked up the Roadster online. That lead to me learning about the Roadster, Leaf, Model S, Who Killed the Electric Car, the EV1, the Mini-E, the ActiveE, the i3, the Fit EV, the Focus Electric, basically the whole EV renaissance. I was looking up photos of the Mini-E and stumbled upon the blog for "Mini-E 250". I decided, "Heck, I don't have anything else to do. I'll read it." So I did. I read the blog for "Mini-E 250", "ActiveE 1" and this whole blog. I have to say. I'm hooked on this whole blog as well as electric cars in general. I don't see myself driving an EV in the near future (I can't even DRIVE!), but maybe someday! Thank you very much for what you've done for the EV community.

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    1. You're certainly welcome! I appreciate the compliments. It would also be helpful if you could use the "Reply As" and type in your name (or any name for that matter as long as you use the same one all the time!) So I know who you are when you message.

      When a lot of people use "anonymous" it's it impossible for me to know who I am answering sometimes!
      Thanks!

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    2. I'm an optimistic dreamer about this... but my idea is to create a force of electric vehicles that travel to natural disasters and recover the areas. Did you see how Japan responded to the 2011 earthquake? I want to be able to do an organization that carries supplies and passengers with electric vehicles. Especially electric cargo vans. Of course, that won't happen anytime soon. But the dream is alive!

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