More on Virginia Tire Research Center - Tire Review Magazine

More on Virginia Tire Research Center

The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission is to exhale $5 million into a $14 million project to establish a tire research facility within the state.

A further $5 million is to come from General Motors and $4 million from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Virginia Tech. The facility will be situated in Halifax County.

Named the National Tire Research Center (NTRC), the new facility is expected to generate more than $12 million in testing and research expenditures within five years and create up to 183 new jobs in the local economy by 2020. Furthermore, it is anticipated that the NTRC will generate “substantial” new research and teaching opportunities for the Virginia Tech faculty.

“We are very proud that Virginia Tech can play a significant role in this innovative public-private partnership,” said Virginia Tech president Charles Steger. “We believe that this national research center will enhance and expand areas of automotive research, and create tremendous economic activity in Southside Virginia. It will also develop new products that can save energy and improve the safety of motorists around the world. This effort is yet one more example of how our research can pay huge dividends for our communities and businesses in the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond.”

The NTRC will be managed by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and headed by institute director Tom Dingus. “We are very excited about the development of this research and testing center at Virginia Tech,” said Dingus, who also was a principle in the tire center proposal. “This facility will be the only one of its kind in the world and will generate world-class tire research data while generating significant revenue and hi-tech jobs in Virginia.”

Virginia Tech states that the NTRC has been established to “conduct independent testing, research and assessments to complement research and development performed by tire and auto manufacturers with a focus on increasing research on green technology.” The center, Virginia Tech adds, will provide the automotive industry with testing capability that is necessary to engineer and develop tires that will provide higher fuel economy and lower emissions than are currently available.

The NTRC will house a newly designed force and moment machine, designed for passenger, light truck and race tires, plus rolling resistance machinery. According to Virginia Tech, the data provided will accelerate the development of these technologies and enable another significant leap in the use of computer-aided engineering simulation in automotive engineering. The university adds that such a level of research, development and testing in one location do not exist anywhere else in the world.

“As a founding member of the NTRC, GM looks forward to partnering with Virginia Tech and the Commonwealth of Virginia to pioneer research and development that will develop green tire technologies to further improve the fuel efficiency of vehicles in the future,” said Karl Stracke, GM’s vice president of global vehicle engineering.

Funding from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission may seem an unusual fit for a tire research facility: The state government created body is intended to facilitate economic growth and development in tobacco dependent communities.

Speaking on the institute’s behalf, Virginia House of Delegates representative Danny Marshall said “one of the Tobacco Commission’s main goals is to bring prosperity back to our region. This is why the commission invested $5 million into a tire research facility that will be located at VIR (Virginia International Raceway). The goal is to develop a new passenger tire that will increase car mileage by three to five miles per gallon." (Tyres & Accessories)

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