Bridgestone could be very close to putting an airless tyre on the market that’s not only safer but also more environmentally friendly. A concept of the tyre is currently on display at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.
As the name suggests, the airless tyre does not need to be filled with air at all, and is 100 per cent recyclable. This makes it not only puncture-proof but also a more environmentally friendly tyre than conventional types.
When a vehicle's tyre pressure is running too low, which often happens when the tyres are not checked frequently, the vehicle’s engine has to work harder and use more fuel. The airless tyre could reduce fuel consumption for vehicles in the long run, as there's no fluctuating tyre pressure to check.
The tyre itself does look like something from the future, but the way it works is rather simple. It's made up of reusable thermoplastic resin centre spokes that are designed to support the weight of a vehicle. They compress and twist just like a conventional tyre under certain loads and conditions.
The outer surface is then coated in a more traditional tread pattern to disperse water and provide road-holding as normal. Bridgestone hasn't said if it is working on various tread compounds for performance cars or SUVs and so on, it is likely different patterns could be formed during the manufacturing process.
Some may remember Michelin revealed a similar concept tyre a few years ago, but those tyres, according to Bridgestone, were impractical for mass market production.
Bridgestone is adamant about working on more environmentally friendly projects and developments, and as part of its environmental mission statement, the tyre could be an alternative to the conventional tyre in the near future.
What do you think of these airless tyres? Do you want to see them hit the market?