NI 64 - 'Puncture-proof' AIRLESS tyres that are cheaper, more durable and better for the environment than traditional versions may be available to buy in just five years

Post date: 11-Jun-2019 08:57:31

The era of punctures may be coming to an end as the first airless tyres could be available to buy by 2025.

Michelin and General Motors announced the design, which has been in development for the best part of two decades, and says it would require zero maintenance.

The so-called Uptis tyre (unique puncture-proof tyre system) is made from resin-embedded fibreglass and an aluminium wheel. Its creation has required up to 50 patents to protect the technology and its creators claim it can replicate the performance of current tyres while also being better for the environment, longer lasting and cheaper.

'This is a revolutionary prototype. We have proved that this concept isn't a dream,' said Michelin executive vice president Erick Vinesse at the Movin'On transport summit in Montreal.

'This will will bring less stress and more peace of mind – knowing that there is no longer the risk of finding yourself on the side of the road because of a flat tyre,' he said. Michelin added that the design could also be 3D printed and would be more sustainable and likely to improve fuel economy.

A series of spokes replaces the usual sidewall of the tyre and it is able to bear the weight of a passenger car or SUV just as well as traditional pneumatic versions. This was a major stumbling block for previous iterations of the tyre which failed to be as hardy as the tried and tested alternatives. The revolutionary design will also see the existing wheel replaced with a new tread, preventing the need for an entirely new tyre to be fitted . This, Michelin claims, will cut down on cost, materials and time for both the manufacturer and consumer.

The question is how high a cost, what is the new tyre life, what happens if you get debris or a stone through the open side walls, what is the effect on braking distances in summer to winter conditions, and simple things like road noise levels? Unless all these issues are resolved postively, safely then mass take-up remains in doubt, let us see what happens.

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