The revolution of Electric Vehicle has gone so far and you couldn’t imagine years ago what they’re giving right now. But the fact is, tires are almost the same and they haven’t changed at all. This is the thing that was never modified in a whole new way.
Some manufacturers tried making the rolling resistance low of their tires to increase the range of electric cars but those are still matters of damages and punctures from road bugs. Now, early in the 21st century, Michelin with General Motors has told that they’ll bring airless tires for cars by 2024 and these will change the whole concept of air pressure.
At the very beginning, airless tires or non-pneumatic tires (NPT) were being used in only heavy equipment such as backhoes as those performing their duty on construction sites. Airless tires don’t work on air pressure and that’s exactly why they were being used in backhoes because the probability of puncture is high there. You don’t have to worry about a flat tire when you’re using airless tires.
However, you may ask for when the airless tire was invented and the answer is November 19, 2008. Dunlop made the first pneumatic tire for bicycles in 1888 and Michelin made pneumatic tires for cars in 1895. Pneumatic tires ruled the last century.
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However, non-pneumatic tires or tweels are here now. So, it’s time for a change in the wheel system.
The Tweel was basically unveiled by Michelin. The tweel is basically a one-piece tire having the tire and wheel combined with each other and it doesn’t depend on air pressure to operate smoothly. As per Wikipedia information, the benefits of tweel are huge. It has not only the safety and convenience of never having flat tires, but also the braking system with these tires is smoother than an air pneumatic tire.
But the interesting fact is a tweel can be manufactured to have lateral stiffness, unlike a pneumatic tire. In a tweel, there’s no air bladder under the tread and that’s why this can be achieved. The manufacturer Michelin expects that the tread will last two or three times of a conventional tire and they also expect that the potential impact on the environment of tweel airless tires for ATV will be less than a pneumatic conventional tire.
Besides, having a replaceable, long-lasting, airless tire for jeeps and bikes can decrease your cost and waste. Because the pneumatic conventional tires are durable and the construction they contain is almost indestructible and they are being dumped everywhere every day. That’s how they’re leaving a bad impact. With airless tires, this problem will be decreased. By the by, airless tires require less tire care which is great indeed!
The great news is Michelin already had some success with the tweel for low-speed applications like airless tires for lawn mower, airless tire for fork-lifts, airless tire for tractors, etc. But the tweel couldn’t crack the passenger car market yet. But it upgraded itself. The new version of this is called uptis. This stands for “Unique Puncture Proof Tire system”. Uptis basically uses a combination of composites and rubber to create a mesh structure. When it’ll be available, customizing with wheel paint will be easy.
Michelin also added that the uptis rides as comfortably as a normal tire and beside this, it has some facilities and advantages that make the ride easy and pleasant. The Uptis doesn’t rely on air pressure and this is exactly why you don’t have to worry about punctures or road damage. You don’t have to carry spare tires, jacks and pressure monitors with you anymore.
The first test application for Uptis will be the Chevrolet Bolt EV. If all things go according to plan, the automotive industry will get a new level of airless tires for cars in the next 5 years.
When the operation is successful, we hope that airless tires for trucks and buses will be available too and giant manufacturers will start making airless tires like Hankook, Bridgestone, continental, etc. It’s time to make the wind of change blow!
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