【和歌山利宏:モーターサイクルジャーナリスト】

あのトヨタもオカルトチューンに参入?

オカルトチューンというと、鼻の脂を擦り付けるがごとく添加材を用いたり、お守りを身に付けるがごとく小物を装着するものを連想します。実際、いくつかの商品が世に出ていて、走りの質が好転するものも多いのですが、「あらあら摩訶不思議」といった捉え方をされ、オカルトと表現されてきたのだと思います。

ところが、2年余り前になりますが、トヨタもオカルト商品を純正パーツとして用意し、その後、いくつかの市販車に純正装着するようになっているのです。それは、アルミテープをカットしたもので、ボディに貼ることでハンドリングが向上すると言います。また、ステアリングコラムに貼ると、接地感や操舵感が伝わりやすくなるのだそうです。

オカルトチューンとは静電気除去チューンだった

バイクもクルマもエンジン、サスペンション、タイヤなどいくつもの機械要素で成り立っています。そして、それらの内部や機械要素同士の間で、絶えず変形と摩擦が繰り返されていて、それに伴って静電気が発生します。また、走行する車体は空気との間に摩擦力が生じ、車体の表面も空気もプラスに帯電します。

すると、プラスかマイナスが異極であれば引き合い、同極であれば反発し合います。この静電気力がクセモノで、バイクやクルマの運動に悪影響を与えます。ですから、そうした静電気を除去できれば、エンジン性能やレスポンス、燃費が改善され、ハンドリングも良くなるというわけです。トヨタのアルミテープも静電気を除去するためのものなのです。

いち早く、この現象に目を向けていたランドマスター社

幸い私は数年前から、こうした静電気除去装置に取り組んできたランドマスター社(https://www.landmaster.co.jp/)のテストに参加させていただく機会があり、その効果を実感してきています。ですから、トヨタのアルミテープについて聞いたときも、さほど驚きはなく、技術追及の流れとして受け入れることができました。

▲ランドマスター社とのテスト風景

▲左:ランドマスター社 社長の金光利久氏/右:筆者

ランドマスター社では様々な手法で静電気を除去する製品が開発されています。その絶大な効果を技術的に考察しながらも、オカルトチックな気分になることも事実です。この静電気に対する考え方がこれまで関係なかったわけではありません。エンジン開発のテーマの一つであるフリクション低減が実現できれば、結果的に静電気も抑えられます。空力特性がよくなっても空気との間に生じる静電気が小さくなるからです。

でも、バイクやクルマの高次元化に伴い、エンジニアもこれまで視野に入れなかった要素に目を向け始めたというところでしょうか。そして、さらに上質なものを求めるために、静電気除去製品はますます受け入れられていくのではないでしょうか。

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