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Bridgestone introduces airless tires

Do you hate getting a flat tire? How about realizing your tire pressure is low? Bridgestone might have an answer for your, non-pneumatic airless tires.

Bridgestone has developed airless tires, that could prove to be the “Tires of the Future” and environmentally friendly.

Bridgestone showcased these tires at the Tokyo Motor Show in Japan, but has not given out too much information for the time being. From what we know it seems they could prove be much better than the current tires we are installing on cars and trucks.

These new non-pneumatic airless tires have a unique structure of spokes. These spokes stretch along the inner sides of the tires which go from the rim to the tread of the tire. The tires are solid and can support the weight of a vehicle, but are pliable so they can absorb bumps in the road. The spokes are made of a thermoplastic resin, which is reusable. Along with the rubber in the tread, all materials used in the tires are 100 percent recyclable.

Bridgestone is pursuing this technological development with the aim of achieving a “cradle to cradle” process that proactively maximizes the cyclical use of old tires into new tires. Thus creating the ultimate use and reuse of recyclable resources.

Another added benefit from these tires is that they require less maintenance and are thus less hassle. Since they do not need to be refilled periodically with air, you don't need to make stops at the gas station air pump. At the same worrying about punctures and flats, would be a thing of the past. Since there is no air, you can not get a flat tire. At least this is what Bridgestone claims!

Introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show, these forward thinking non-pneumatic airless tires are still a concept and most likely a long way away from being on our cars. However, they have been tested successfully on small electric scooters in Japan used to transport elderly or disabled people. (The tires on those scooters are only 9-inches.)

Previous tire concepts that Bridgestone has developed have proven to be impractical to produce for the mass market. Bridgestone developed this technology with the aim of wide commercial viability.

Michelin introduced a similar airless tire a few years ago. It seems Bridgestone might have outdone Michelin, as these tires seem to be more advanced and farther along in the development process. At least this is TorqueNew's assumption at the time of this writing, from the information that has been made available to us.

It will be very interesting to see what tire developments and advancements are on the horizon.

Please contact Adam Yamada-Hanff – [email protected] – for comments, questions, or topics. You can also follow him on Twitter @AdamsAutoAdvice

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Frank Sherosky    December 7, 2011 - 7:38PM

I can't help but wonder how those spaces in the tire will perform in Michigan winters when snow packs in and freezes; not to mention the issue of keeping them clean after a rain and a dirt road. Whil eopen it may look cool, question is, can it be enclosed?

Still, not having to monitor tire pressure would be great win for all. (By the way, good catch, as I noticed this when I researched that Chinese tire maker that will make tires with colors other than black.)

lee (not verified)    December 8, 2011 - 4:31AM

jeeeze these americans no common sense!!! lol what a question! no side walls! how on earth would they show the concept if they have side walls? I actually wonder how long or how many miles these last? How the resilience wears away and how inflexible they will be once worn. Likely they will have the tread wear before they are shot and need replacing!! And for this reason they will also be limited to lighter vehicles like the one shown!!! dont get too excited!