First shown to the public at the recent Paris Motor Show, Michelin’s new tyres have done away with the concept of the pneumatic tyre and returned to something approaching the age-old solid tyre.
The prototype tyre was initially conceived for particularly tough road conditions in countries like China and India where potholes are the norm. It is also expected to remove the burden of punctures with the associated penalties in time and money.
The Michelin airless tyre is being promoted not only as puncture-proof, but also as maintenance-free that does not require inflating.
The construction of the tyre, labelled by Michelin as a ‘fly trap’ is a radial structure made of high-performance composite materials onto which a rubber tread is bonded.
Daniel Laurent, Michelin director of conception and development said the tyre is made from 115 rings of tough resin laced with glass fibre.
“It remains roadworthy even when shot with a rifle. Tests show it will outlast the average car (150,000 miles), leaving just the outer treads to be replaced periodically. No more pressure checks, no more flats, no more spare wheels,” he said.
No date has yet been set for the commercial launch of the tyre, but it may not be long before the roads are filled with commercial vehicles running on airless tyres.