Industry News

Tesla previews Semi tyre inflation system with new patent

Electric vehicle and battery maker, Tesla, has filed a patent for a new tyre inflation system with particular relevance for Cybertrucks and Tesla Semis.

Disclosed last week at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the new automatic tyre inflation system, according to the USPTO abstract, includes valves controlled by a controller, the valves having an air supply inlet, and a plurality of air outlets.

Truck and trailer combinations that include more than four wheels typically have the rear wheels powered by a single axle or single differential.

As a single engine may drive the rear wheels via one or more drive shafts and differentials, maintaining the target pressure on all of these tyres is difficult.

Tesla’s Automatic Tire Inflation Systems have been developed in an attempt to maintain the target air pressure in all tyres.

For battery-powered heavy vehicles, getting the most out of one charge will be incumbent on the smallest efficiency gains especially in the transportation of goods where maintaining the correct tyre across the truck and trailer combination is crucial.

The system includes at least one drive axle having inner bearings and outer bearings, a channel formed in a spindle, first hosing coupling a valve of the valves controlled by the computer to the channel formed in the spindle, a channel formed in a hub, a rotary air seal residing between the inner bearings and the outer bearings and coupling the channel formed in the spindle to the channel formed in the hub, and second hosing coupling the channel formed in the hub to at least one wheel.

This system, according to Tesla, significantly reduces contamination in the tyre inflation system air stream and ensuring, at least in theory, a longer lifespan.

“The rotary air seal may transition,” per the Abstract, “from a sealed state that forms a seal between the spindle and the hub to support air flow between the channel formed in the spindle and the channel formed in hub and reside in an unsealed state to negate the seal between the spindle and the hub.”

A method for operating the tyre inflation system for use with a vehicle includes monitoring air pressure of at least one tyre, determining that inflation of at least one tyre is required, and opening at least one valve to allow air to flow.

It should be noted that the vehicle in the main diagram featured as part of Tesla’s patent disclosure diagram has ten wheels.

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