Ever had a flat tire when you are in the middle of nowhere and you have no spare tire? Well, that sounds scary, but now Bridgestone, a Japanese company, has come up with airless tires that require no inflation. The tires were exhibited at the Parish Motor Show.
On the outside, the tires are coated with replaceable tread made of a thing band of solid rubber.
Bridgestone is renowned worldwide in the tire industry. It has eight tire-making plants around the world, but it’s not the only company tying airless-tire technology.
Other companies that have tried this technology include Michelin and Britek Tire. Michelin’s Tweel is great for loaders, while Britek Tire’s Energy Return Wheel is meant for military vehicles and bicycles. There is also the Hankook i-Flex which is designed for passenger cars.
Bridgestone first tried the airless tires in 2011; it has now improved over its first prototype. The shock absorbent capability has been improved because this new design is better able to handle heat build-up.
Bridgestone now wants to deal with lateral stiffness. The tires seem to be too stiff which is not good when the driver steers.
The issue with be addressed over the next two to four years. Bridgestone wants to try this new model within a year on small Toyota single-passenger electric vehicle that run in Tokyo.
The rubber part wears out but can be replaced by heating it up, removing it and slipping a new one on.