Highway blowouts and Fix-A-Flat could soon be things of the past. Following the trend started by Michelin with the Tweel, Bridgestone recently unveiled an airless tire of its own at the Tokyo Motor Show. Bridgestone’s air-free concept is supported by a mesh of spokes that are made of thermoplastic resin. The material is flexible and durable, and best of all, it’s 100-percent recyclable!
Because air-free tires eliminate the risk of punctures, they’re both safer and less wasteful than conventional pneumatic tires. And Bridgestone says that the thermoplastic resin can be recycled back into new tires, eliminating waste from the equation altogether. The airless design would also eliminate the need to carry a spare tire, removing unnecessary weight from cars and freeing up storage space.
The airless tire concept that Bridgestone rolled out at the Tokyo Motor Show is nine inches in diameter, and each wheel is strong enough to support about 150kg, according to the company. One potential problem lies in the spoke design, which will need to be protected in order to keep objects from getting lodged in the spokes. So far, the company has been testing the airless concept on a small one-seat electric vehicle, and it plans to continue developing the technology for wider commercial use.