Designers have been having a field day the past few years, coming up with innovative ways to make cars, motorcycles and other vehicles more environmentally friendly. But one thing tends to remain constant — the tires. For the most part, they’re still rubber, they’re still full of air, and they eventually wear out or go flat.
The folks at Bridgestone hope to change that. At the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show earlier this month, the company unveiled its “non-pneumatic” Air-Free Tire Concept, which is constructed with a complex web of spokes made from moldable thermoplastic resin.
Both Michelin and Yokohama Rubber have developed similar tires in the past, but neither gained any traction (pardon the pun) in the market.
Bridgestone, however, hopes to achieve mass market success with a tire that can be easily recycled, while reducing maintenance and the risk of punctures.
The initial tires are 9-inch models and designed for golf buggies and electric carts. Airless tires for full-size vehicles are still under development, but could conceivably eliminate the need for a spare tire — reducing weight and freeing up storage space in next-generation electric/hybrid vehicles.
You can see a video of the tires in action below: