Imagine a future in which your tyre is also a wheel: puncture-proof because there is no pressure.
Its strength comes from its structure, which mimics nature. A wheel made of recycled materials and which is completely recycled at the end of its life, after having covered thousands and thousands of kilometres – as many as the vehicle itself.
Now imagine that road conditions and bad weather don't matter any more, because your tread instantly adjusts to your driving conditions, whenever necessary, using just the right amount of materials. A tread that can be modified and replenished at will, without wasting any resources, time or money, and which protects the environment for the generations to come.
Terry Gettys, executive vice president of research and development at Michelin Group, unveiled the prototype of the concept during Montreal’s Movin’On sustainable mobility event in June.
“It’s a tyre that is connected with a vehicle that is connected with drivers that are connected,” Gettys explained. “It’s a long-term concept which brings together our vision of all the elements of sustainable mobility. It’s a very realistic dream. All the components are current research initiatives at Michelin.”
He said the Michelin Visionary Concept should be thought of in three parts:
1) First, a wheel with no air, designed to last as long as the vehicle. Its ultra-durability comes from its honeycomb structure, which is inspired by natural models. It is made of recycled materials and it is fully recyclable.
2) Next, a tread with a very distinctive feature: it can be ‘replenished’ by a 3D printer. This delivers the same performances as a conventional tread, but is completely biodegradable and minimises waste. If road conditions change, you can print the tread needed in a matter of minutes.
3) Lastly, the Visionary Concept is connected: it communicates with your vehicle and your vehicle communicates with it. Users would be informed of the wear on their tread and programme a tread reprint, choosing the type of tread pattern they need at that particular time for their intended tyre use.