Michelin has developed an airless tire that is supposed to last a particularly long time and save material. It is being tested on DHL vehicles in Singapore. It is scheduled to go into series production next year.
Long-lasting and material-saving?
The wheel-tire combination without air is said to bring numerous advantages that ordinary tires do not. Punctures and tire-pressure problems, which are especially common problems under heavy use, are said to be avoidable with the novel product, for example. Michelin also estimates that the prototype, which is suitable for passenger cars as well as vans, should last three times as long as an ordinary tire. This would drastically reduce tire scrapping. Added to this is the fact that less material is processed for the airless tire. All this makes it an environmentally friendly and cost-saving alternative to conventional tires.
Testing in Singapore
Whether it will actually be able to make its mark on the road, however, cannot yet be assessed. A test phase is now starting in Singapore, during which the airless tire will be mounted on 50 DHL vehicles. DHL expects the test run to increase efficiency: if punctures no longer occur, tires need to be changed less frequently and air pressure problems are ruled out, some of the most frequent reasons for delays in parcel delivery will be eliminated. The test phase is scheduled to start by the end of the year. The tires will be gradually installed on DHL vehicles. It is not known when the first results can be expected.