NEW YORK—As cars have gotten quieter, calls for Pirelli C. & S.p.A.'s noise canceling tire system have gotten louder.
The Pirelli Noise Canceling System, meant to reduce noise between the road surface and tires, has been available since 2013, said Steve Carpino, product design and development.
Approvals of PNCS tires were at 78 in 2017, but reached 150 by the end of 2018, according to Pirelli. That demand comes increasingly from auto makers in the "premium and prestige" sectors.
While the technique of putting some kind of a material inside the tire to manage noise has been proven to work, there was a point when that technology "wasn't really cost-effective for the car manufacturers to address that particular frequency of noise when they had lots of other opportunities still on the table for soundproofing their vehicles," Carpino said. "So as premium cars became quieter as a result of all these other improvements, suddenly there's this noise they can't do anything about."
Other soundproofing options can stifle many other points of entry for outside noise, but road contact noise is difficult to block because it's transmitted through the suspension system into the vehicle, Carpino said.
"That's why an available technology becomes much more interesting, when there's a real need for it," he said. "Those vehicles have had a lot of noise reduction technology applied already. This is one of the ones now available that they can use in their toolkit."
Pirelli has seen a lot of acceptance from German original equipment manufacturers, and is beginning to see more involving OEMs in the U.S., particularly in the cases of electric vehicles, he said. It's also interesting for small crossover- and sport-utility vehicles because of the cabin noise.
"Although there are still sources of noise being input into the cabin, this one becomes pretty significant to them. If they can lower it, most of them are interested in doing that," Carpino said.