VA Tech & GM: En”tire” Facility Dedicated to Research


General Motors Co. announced today that it would be investing $5 million to launch a National Tire Research Center (NTRC) at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). GM stated that better fuel economy and lower emissions are just a couple of reasons why they have decided to move on this opportunity.
According to a General Motors press release, the National Tire Research Center will incorporate state of the art rolling resistance machinery, enabling tire and automotive manufactures to accelerate the development of tire technology, reproduce real-world emergency events, and improve highway safety.

VTTI currently owns a “Smart Road”; a two lane, 2.2 mile stretch of asphalt, with the ability to replicate rain, snow and other “treacherous” driving conditions, where date can be collected and observed from test vehicles on site.

VTTI director, Tom Dingus, says the “facility will be the only one of its kind in the world and will generate world-class tire research data while generating significant revenue and high tech jobs in South side Virginia.”

In addition to the GM funding of $5 million, other sources of funding for the $14 million center include Virginia Tech itself and from a national tobacco settlement.

It is estimated that the NTRC will spend $12 million in testing and research within the five years and create up to 183 new jobs by 2020. The facility will be located adjacent to the Virginia International Raceway in Halifax County, VA.

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