Michelin Reinvents The Wheel


Article by ,Gijs van Wulfen, courtesy of Linkedin..

You will get no flat tires anymore, as Michelin introduces the Tweel: the first commercialized airless radial tire. The main advantage over pneumatic tires is that the Tweel® does not contain compressed air. It cannot burst, leak pressure, or become flat.

The Tweel was invented 10 years ago. The concept was introduced at the 2005 North American International Auto Show. TIME Magazine named the Tweel as one of the most amazing inventions of 2005. The Tweel is a revolutionary non-pneumatic tire that changed the configuration of a conventional tire.It brings together the tire and the wheel assembly into one solid unit. The Tweel comprises a rigid hub connected to a shear beam by means of flexible, deformable polyurethane spokes, all functioning as a single unit.

Wikipedia reports that Michelin North America Inc. began sales of the Tweel for skid-steer loaders used in landscaping, construction, contracting, refuse/recycling and agricultural industries in 2012. Now, 10 years after the invention, Michelin starts mass commercialization and opens the first manufacturing plant to build its revolutionary airless tire in North America.

As a car driver the big advantage is the end of the flat tire. This will solve a very relevant problem for car drivers all over the world and creates a huge competitive advantage for Michelin. Now my main question is, why is the Tweel not yet available for ordinary passenger cars? Is the Tweel still too expensive? Is production capacity a problem? Or, is Michelin afraid of cannibalizing its pneumatic tire sales?

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