Michelin makes an indestructible, airless tire and wheel combination it calls “Tweels.” Although it has tried to market them to cars, they have not yet caught on. However, times are changing. Our roads are getting worse, not better. With automakers’ increasing focus on fuel efficiency and reduced rolling resistance, tires are now required to make the most of a sip of fuel. We think these might have a renewed chance to find a way to break into the mainstream automotive marketplace.
Tweels are the obvious solution to new pickup truck tire needs. Particularly the rugged, off-road special editions that are so popular with urban cowboys and those that actually drive off of the road. They may also satisfy the demand for performance vehicles that need to maintain their safety in very demanding situations. BMW has moved towards run-flat tires in some cases and uses safety as one of its marketing pitches.
Michelin already has run-flat tires as well as an advanced run-flat design it calls the PAX system. November 20th, 2014 Michelin will open a new factory in Piedmont South Carolina to make the Tweel for commercial markets. That happens to be a hub for automotive manufacturing. Michelin says that Tweels are zero maintenance, cost competitive, and long-life. We say bring them on!