From EMT to “RunOnFlat” Technology
16 years ago Goodyear presented the grandfather of today’s sidewall strengthened tyres on the Corvette. Later the technology was named EMT (Extended Mobility Technology). Now the EMT contraction has outlived its usefulness and, alongside the release of its new “Excellence” summer tyre, Goodyear has renamed the system “RunOnFlat” technology. The first three products to bear the “RunOnFlat” name will be BMW OE versions of the Excellence in sizes 205/55 R16, 225/50 R16 and 205/50 R17. Naturally these will also be available on the aftermarket and four further sizes are due to arrive in the spring.
So far, no other tyre manufacturer has produced and delivered as many tyres that can run while punctured, as Goodyear. As a result, there are millions of these tyres currently on the roads testifying to the company’s know-how in this area. This also explains Goodyear’s confidence that its tyres are much more comfortable than the competition’s. For Goodyear, this was always the crux of the issue – from the earliest products to today’s tyres and therefore the latest “RunOnFlats.” The earlier products were relatively uncomfortable because of their stiff sidewalls, amongst other things. These first generation EMT tyres have so little to do with today’s sidewall strengthened tyres that they shouldn’t even have the same name. It is also worth pointing out that “Extended Mobility Technology” doesn’t communicate what the products do as directly as the manufacturer intended.
BMW, one of Goodyear’s OE partners and the leading car manufacturer when it comes to run-flats, is clear that comfort is not as high on its list of priorities as dry performance. Despite all optimisation efforts, the Eagle NCT 5, which has now been replaced by the “Excellence,” didn’t exactly conform to this demand. So, it became necessary to develop a type of tyre that, with either conventional or reinforced sidewalls, would be at the cutting edge of today’s technology, if not already corresponding with the requirements of tomorrow. (Goodyear calls the Excellence “the tyre from tomorrow.”)
In approximately two years time, BMW will fit all its series models with run-flat tyres. When this happens, Goodyear will have all the right products to satisfy these demands. That was certainly the case when the manufacturer released the new 1-series and will happen again in a few weeks time, when the new 3-series is released.
Goodyear, like the other premium brands, attacks on more than one front at a time. The companies have to do this to respond to the differing priorities of the car manufacturers. For example, Audi requests that its OE summer tyres have minimum winter performance characteristics and Mercedes-Benz favours comfort. For its part, Goodyear names “Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo and Volkswagen” as development partners for its current breakdown-safe tyres, even though they pursue quite contrasting philosophies.
Something else that Goodyear has found out is that run-flats have to fulfil the needs of end consumers, not only OE customers. The company came across this fact when it questioned more than 40,000 people across Europe. The results show that 74 per cent primarily expect “safety” from their tyres, followed by comfort (63 per cent) then performance (46 per cent). As far as Goodyear is concerned, the new Excellence, particularly with RunOnFlat technology, will fulfil these demands.