The upcoming era of electric vehicles is truly the topic of our time in this industry. As the infrastructure for this imminent change is getting put into place, it is easy to wonder what other changes will come our way when it comes to servicing these vehicles. As vehicles get smarter, safer and more efficient, what parts become less necessary? One thing you can be sure of is there will continue to be a need for a sensor in the tire.
One of the many benefits of a functioning tire pressure monitoring system in an ICE vehicle is that proper tire inflation helps improve fuel efficiency. When a tire has adequate pressure, the tire sits on the road properly, allowing it to grip better and have the strength to move the vehicle forward more efficiently. For electric vehicles, this translates to range. If there is one thing that will be of vital importance with EVs, it is increasing driving range between charges. Tire sensors will continue to support that effort.
Tire sensors can also help the vehicle better predict the estimated impact to range, which can exceed 10%. This is significant as infrastructure builds and the distance between charging stations is less than ideal over the next several years. The more accurate the prediction the more comfort and trust that is instilled in the driver. Repairs to a system that could keep them from being stranded is a pretty easy sell.
Keep in mind that vehicles are continuously becoming a driving ecosystem of data and information as well. ADAS systems rely on hundreds of sensors to talk to each other and to feed data to the vehicle. Vehicle performance will be dependent on the accuracy of steering and vehicle handling, which is very dependent on tire pressure and yet another great benefit of TPMS that will be even more relevant in an electric vehicle.
However, what is already changing with TPMS today and will continue to evolve and be relevant for EVs is the way the sensor is mounted to the tire. Tire-mounted sensors are the future as sensors are equipped with more and more capabilities. Rather than getting attached by a valve stem, the sensor will need to be mounted (glued) to the inside of the tire itself in order to collect data like load measurement and tire identification. Where a valve-mounted sensor is limited, a tire-mounted sensor is much less so.
At the end of the day, the four tires are the only contact a vehicle has with the road. You can bet that those tires will need to continue to talk to the vehicle and relay important messages and status updates. In conclusion, tire sensors aren’t going anywhere; if anything, they are gaining more capabilities and their importance will only continue to grow in an electrified car parc.
Jacki Lutz is the Global Head of Communications, Training and E-Commerce for Schrader TPMS Solutions, a global leader in TPMS. She is a TIA ATS instructor and serves on a variety of industry boards.