Michelin has created a visionary concept that will reinvent the tires of our cars. Their vision concept is an airless “tweel” (A tire that looks like a wheel) that is made from 3D-printed materials that can be modified into different types of tires depending on the seasons or when it wears down.
This concept was recently presented at the Movin’On conference in Montreal. According to Michelin, their one-piece wheel-and-tire combo is “airless, connected, rechargeable, customizable and organic,” Yes, it’s organic! The concept tire is made out of bio-sourced and biodegradable materials. This includes bamboo, natural rubber, paper, wood, tin cans, electronic and plastic waste, hay, tire chips, used metals, cloth cardboard, molasses and orange zest.
It was designed to mimic the structure of corals, which is stiff at the center and gradually softer as it goes towards the outside edge.
Since this vision concept is an airless tire, we won’t need to worry about the tires getting punctured or explode. It makes use of an interior architecture that supports the vehicle and at the same time providing comfort and safety. “It’s inspired by nature with a very light, efficient structure,” Michelin’s executive vice president of R&D, Terry Gettys said.
Another amazing feature of this tire concept is that it can be “replenished” by a 3D printer. The material which is used has the same performance as conventional treads. The only difference is that the materials in this concept tire is completely biodegradable. So how is this feature useful? Say, you need to travel to a place that has snow, or rain. You can print suitable treads for your tires in a matter of minutes! Also, since 3D printing is an additive technology, it prints just the right quantity of material that is needed. This means their is no waste created.
Finally, this concept also has sensors that is capable of providing real-time info about its current condition. It is also accompanied by a mobile app that allows drivers to connect with a 3D printing station, in case a change of tires is needed.
Source: Youtube, Michelin
While this may be an awesome concept, according to Gettys, it will be be at least 10 years before this concept will be brought to life. For now, we’ll have to keep our conventional tires while we wait.