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Two innovations for Pirelli in Geneva: coloured tyres and Pirelli Connesso make their society debuts

What does technological innovation really mean? Most people interpret it as being activity that’s designed to introduce brand new products and services, or alternatively new methods for the production, distribution and use of those products. The world of tyres is one that embraces the whole concept of technological innovation with open arms. Because while to many peoples’ eyes tyres are just round, black and above all similar, they hide deep within themselves many years of hard work, research, development and testing of all their individual elements: including construction, compound, tread pattern designs and so on.

So once again, Pirelli gets the year underway with a new era in tyre-making, introducing stunning new tyres that feature both looks and brains. And where better than the Geneva Motor Show for these two innovations to make their debuts? We’re talking about the color edition and Pirelli Connesso: an integrated system that ‘talks’ to its driver. These are two options that can now be specified with the P Zero and Winter Sottozero, Pirelli’s top of the range summer and winter tyres, allowing drivers to mix and match between colours and sensors exactly as they wish.

From today, tyres show their true colours!
Admittedly, the first thing that comes to mind when you think of tyres is the word ‘black’. No longer. The color edition from Pirelli banishes even that enduring stereotype.

Over the last few years, the demand for personalisation, and other ways to stand out, has become bigger and bigger. So now, extensive research and testing has allowed Pirelli to develop proprietary technology that livens up the world’s most prestigious cars (among others) alongside other noted Pirelli specialities, such as PNCS (Pirelli’s noise-reduction system), Run Flat, and Seal Inside: technology that enables a tyre to repair itself in the event of a puncture.

That’s how the P Zero and Winter Sottozero color edition was born, made up initially of four base colours. Red, yellow, white and silver are the colours being previewed in Geneva, not just on the Pirelli stand but also adorning some of the most stunning cars of the show on other stands. On request, other colours can be ordered too.

To keep the colours vivid despite the demands of everyday road use, Pirelli has developed an innovative labelling system as well as refining a protection system to ensure they stay that way. Essentially, Pirelli’s engineers have come up with a new type of protective barrier to guard the colours and reduce the risk of fading.

Now there’s a bright technical idea. Quite literally.

Pirelli Connesso: a system for intelligent tyres
Of course, there’s more to technical innovation than just looks: enjoyable as it is to get creative with a paint palette and decide how best to uniquely personalise your car.

This year, the Geneva Motor Show also bids a warm welcome to Pirelli Connesso. Thanks to this remarkable system, the evolution of tyres has reached a point where they are now intelligent and interactive. But what exactly is it?

Pirelli Connesso is an integrated platform that makes use of a sensor embedded within the P Zero and Winter Sottozero ranges to expand on information that’s already available from each car’s on-board computer. This sensor conveys information about the status, as well as the wear and maintenance needed, on all four tyres. Consequently, even the most demanding drivers can improve the performance of their cars, reducing fuel consumption as well by managing the tyres more efficiently. 

The sensor only weighs a few grams and has no effect on the actual tyre performance: all it does is gather data on each tyre and send the information to a control unit and the Pirelli Cloud, which together form the real brains behind Pirelli Connesso. These crunch the numbers and then send them to each driver’s app, with any warnings delivered via a special alert.

In its launch version, Pirelli Connesso recognises the identification code of each tyre, and measures its pressure and temperature: even when the car is standing still. On top of that, it also supplies information about the vertical static load, how worn the tyre is, and how many kilometres have been run on it. This is all useful information for drivers, and it will be added to in a subsequent version by an estimate of the number of kilometres still remaining on the tyre. The Pirelli Connesso system can also transform itself into a tyre pressure meter while the tyre is being inflated, giving the driver exact and accurate pressure readings without having to wait for the tyres to cool down.

Thanks to alerts sent via smartphone, the Pirelli system can warn the driver when the pressure of one or more tyres is too low, or when the wear limit is close to being reached. In both cases, the app is able to identify the tyre workshop that’s closest and has availability, and it can also book an appointment to carry out any maintenance needed, cutting down on waiting times.

In a future update, Pirelli Connesso will also add a remote function that allows users to manage their tyres efficiently, activating tyre maintenance and substitution even from a distance, when the driver is away from the car. There will also be new content for the Pirelli Connesso community, including the possibility to interact with other smartphone apps, information about which motorsport events are happening nearby, and the ability to leave reviews of tyre workshops.

These two innovations at the Geneva Motor Show characterise Pirelli’s exciting entry into the digital tyre world.

The color edition for the P Zero and Winter Sottozero ranges are available to pre-order now in 19-inch size and larger for prestige cars. Pirelli Connesso will also be available for the same market sector from this summer: firstly in the United States, followed by the key markets in Europe and the Far East.

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