Michelin unveils three major innovations for tomorrow’s mobility
The Paris Motor Show is a great opportunity for Michelin to share its vision of mobility for the future. At its booth, the Group is unveiling three innovations from its research centers, which could well revolutionize our driving experience within a decade or two: Michelin Airless, Michelin Tweel and Michelin Active Wheel. Travel into the future . . .First, Michelin Airless:
Imagine a tire that no longer needs to be inflated, and is therefore maintenance-free and puncture-proof (it’s easy, it doesn’t contain any pressurized air!)
We describe it as a “fly trap*”, a radial structure made of high-performance composite materials on which a rubber tread is bonded.
When in due course the tread wears down, all you need do is have it retreaded. The radial structure, on the other hand, is designed to last as long as your vehicle itself. Michelin Airless is very well adapted not only to passenger cars but also to two-wheel vehicles.
* The fly trap, invented by a Michelin research engineer, Marius Mignol, is the prototype tire which gave rise to the radial tire. It has metallic arches every 1.5 cm or so around the tire. The tread is bonded to the arches.Second, Michelin Tweel:
Another puncture-proof, retreadable solution. The name “Tweel”’ is the contraction in English of “tire” and “wheel”. It’s a non-pneumatic (or airless) wheel, made up of a rubber tread bonded to the hub through flexible spokes. Rather than a wheel plus a tire, we now have a single product─ the Tweel.
Mounting and removal operations will thus be simpler. To start with, Tweels could be fitted on vehicles with small wheels, such as wheelchairs, thus substantially improving the mobility of disabled people. As the Tweel is extremely resistant, we are working on a range of other applications including smaller earthmover and military vehicles.The third leap into the future comes with Michelin Active Wheel.
This wheel actually houses a traction engine. Drivers of cars fitted with four such wheels will be able to select two or four-wheel drive.
Michelin Active Wheel also features an active suspension system which delivers dramatically improved comfort, handling and stability. Indeed, this integrated suspension system will enable drivers to control vehicle behavior when breaking and turning.
This wheel is designed for battery or fuel-cell powered electric vehicles. With Michelin Active Wheel, such vehicles will no longer need any gearbox, clutch, transmission shaft, universal joint or anti-roll bar.