Since 2005, Michelin has been developing a tire-wheel combo appropriately named the “Tweel.” With steel and rubber that form a strong and flexible structure, the Tweel possesses all the necessary qualities of regular tires but without the possibility of losing air.
Currently, Tweels are being used for skid steers (you know — those mini, one-person tractors that have the cage around the driver) and commercial lawnmowers, which encounter flat tires nearly once a week on average. The next steps for this next-generation Michelin tire are to address other off-road applications to learn more about the technology’s potential.
Michelin is taking this technology as far down the road as possible for practical use in the passenger car market. Even though tires on today’s cars are well constructed in terms of braking, cornering, and fuel efficiency, there are still innovations to be made. Michelin plans to continue its development on the Tweel and normal Michelin tires until one emerges as the best tire for use on passenger cars.
Check out videos to see the Tweel in action here.
So what makes more sense — Perfecting run-flat tires or eliminating a tire’s need for air altogether? Is this all just a bunch of hot air? Or will you be riding on airless tires in the near future?