Michelin debut airless recyclable ‘Vision Concept’ tyre
Michelin’s ‘Vision Concept’ is a tire that is airless, made of recycled materials, and will never need to be inflated.
The new concept tyre was presented by Terry Gettys, executive vice president of research and development at Michelin Group, during a press conference at Michelin’s Movin'On sustainable mobility event.
“It’s a tire that is connected with a vehicle that is connected with drivers that are connected,” Gettys explained. “It’s a long-term concept which brings together our vision of all the elements of sustainable mobility. It’s a very realistic dream. All the components are current research initiatives at Michelin.”
Gettys said the tire should be thought of in three parts.
First, it is a wheel with no air and is designed to last as long as the vehicle itself, no matter how hard or fast the vehicle is driven. On a side note, the entire wheel/tyre (it’s all one object) is also made entirely from recycled materials and is biodegradable.
Second, the tyre delivers the same performances as a conventional tread, but the tyre will never need to be replaced because as the tread wears out it can be "replenished" by a 3D printer using cold cure technology. Michelin explained that the advantage of this concept is that when a tire’s tread is worn or road conditions have changed, a driver or fleet can print the tread via 3D printing technology.
Third, as a connected concept that communicates with a vehicle, users would be informed of the wear on their tread and program a tread reprint, choosing the type of tread pattern they need at that particular time for their intended tire use.
The tyre is initially being unveiled as a revolutionary concept for the consumer vehicle market, but with the average cost of a tyre for an 18-wheel heavy-haul commercial truck costing AED1,000 and up, and lack of tread being highlighted as one of the leading causes of commercial vehicle accidents in the UAE, the applications for the commercial vehicle segment are obvious.