Bridgestone shows us the future: the airless tyre

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So what’s the weakest link in a good car’s reliability? I’d say tyres. After all, how often do you see a modern car breaking down in the middle of a journey these days? Most of the mechanical bits are quite reliable, and it would really take a complete oaf to make a healthy car stall with its bonnet split open (except if it’s a certain Indian brand). The same, however, cannot be said about the tyres. A flat tyre always comes unannounced and it could be the difference between making or blowing up that million dollar meeting where you HAVE to reach in time.

Yes, you have a spare on most cars, but you cannot really bet you head upon it. Quite frankly, a flat tyre on a car is as unpredictable as rains in Mumbai during monsoons. BMW may have run flat, but it doesn’t run flat infinitely. And having a run-flat means you cannot get it repaired from a roadside puncture wallah. Moreover, your maximum range after a flat is restricted to 80km, after which you’ll have to find another means of transport to get home. It’s quite a bothersome situation knowing that you’re betting your journey on such a fragile component.

Seems like there finally is a solution! Bridgesone, the Japanese tyre giant has officially announced a non-pneumatic tyre concept. Free from the hassles of the customer having to fill air periodically, this tyre will be more reliable, safer, and will apparently be more eco-friendly. There won’t be any punctures, no tyre bursts, so those incidents where tyre bursts at high speeds led to accidents will virtually be eliminated. Instead of a usual air compartment, this one will have a structure of spoke within the walls.

Such tyres have been conceptualized earlier as well by other tyre biggies like Michelin, but they have generally been found unfeasible for mass production. Bridgestone claims that their tyre is meant for mass production and will soon be seen in mainstream cars.

How well suited is the new design for everyday use, its flaws and real world advantages will come to the fore only in due course, but in the meantime, we have a great new tech to look forward to for a more reliable drive.

Do you like the concept? Do you think it’ll work? Will it eliminate the need for wheels? Do let us know whatever you think about this new tech.

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