Bridgestone's airless tires near production, testing to begin soon
The concept of airless tires is getting closer to production, with Bridgestone's version going in for testing in February 2023. The firm's product is based on its “Air Free Concept," a technology that eliminates the need for tires to be inflated with air to support the weight using a unique structure of spokes stretching along the inner sides of tires.
According to DesignBoom, the testing will be done in association with Idemitsu Kosan Co, using one of its compact electric vehicles. More than 3 billion tires are produced around the world in a year, and the market for airless tires is expected to hit $77.72 billion by 2028.
Airless tires are more reliable and eco-friendly
The concept has a unique structure of spokes stretching along the inner sides of the tires supporting the weight of the vehicle - there is no need to periodically refill the tires with air, meaning that the tires require less maintenance, eliminating the worry of tires getting punctured. These tires are better off withstanding the impact of vibrations and automobile-based shocks, making them nearly indestructible on the road.
In addition, the spoke structure is made from thermoplastic resin and along with the rubber in the tread portion, the materials used in the tires are recyclable. According to Bridgestone, no part of a non-pneumatic tire ever needs to go in the garbage, which goes hand-in-hand with its effort to create a “cradle-to-cradle” system in which all tires are first recycled and then factory-refashioned into new tires.
These tires also offer meager rolling resistance and contribute to reductions in CO2 emissions through the use of proprietary technologies. About 90% of energy loss from tire rolling resistance comes from repeated changes in the shape of the tires as they roll. According to the firm, these airless tires have achieved the same level of low rolling resistance as its pneumatic fuel-efficient tires, making possible a contribution to reductions in CO2 emissions.
Michelin's Vision Concept in works as well
The rival tire maker Michelin is on the heels of launching its airless tire based on its Vision Concept, which is rechargeable, connected, and sustainable. The company’s Unique Puncture Proof Tire System (UPTIS) combines an aluminum wheel with a flexible load-bearing structure made from glass fiber-reinforced plastic. The concept is expected to be ready for market launch in 2024. worldwide
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