DETROIT—Under pressure to help auto makers hit higher fuel economy targets, tire companies are championing new technologies.
Bridgestone has begun supplying BMW's new i-series electric cars with what it markets as its “ologic” technology. Some observers believe those tires will begin to change car styling everywhere—especially if BMW expands their application.
“Ologic” tires are larger in diameter and narrower to cover more distance in one revolution.
The ologic look is essentially a large-diameter tire with a narrow width—but with a tall sidewall. The resulting tire covers more distance in a single revolution but has less contact with the pavement by being narrower—a concept intended to enable BMW's i3 and i8 electric cars to roll farther on a single battery charge.
It is something of a reversal of the trend in tire appearances of the past decade. Since the late 1990s, consumers have reached for wider tires that promised better cornering and takeoff traction. Tires of the past decade also have tended toward “low profile”—meaning shorter sidewalls.