Airless car tyres
What Flat Tyre?
There is no doubt that replacing a car tyre can be inconvenient and expensive, especially when a tyre is flat due to a puncture. So, we were pleased to learn that Goodyear, a US manufacturer, has been working on an airless tyre design that was recently tested on the new Tesla Model 3 in Luxembourg. The tyres consist of special plastic spokes that support a thin, reinforced rubber thread. As the car is in motion, the spokes flex and contort. The senior program manager at Goodyear, Michael Rachita, has stated that there are limitations to their new design that include extra noise and vibration at the moment but they are working hard on ‘softening’ the ride and they were very pleased with the tyres most recent performance.
There has been a shift in the need for tyres to be lower-maintenance, puncture-free and recyclable in electric and autonomous vehicles in particular. So, whilst there will always be a place for air-filled tyres, a selection of alternative, maintenance-free tyres are growing in importance.
Goodyear’s rival company, Michelin has also been working on airless tyres since 2019. In collaboration with General Motors, (GM) they are developing a puncture-proof tyre system that may feature on the new Chevrolet Bolt (EV) planned for 2024. Their tyre is made of high-strength resin embedded with fibreglass and composite rubber to create a mesh structure that surrounds an aluminium wheel. A scientific expert within the company, Cyrille Roget, has confirmed that more news about their new tyre system will follow later this year. And we can’t wait to hear more.