The main benefit of airless car tyres, for instance Bridgestone’s ‘Air Free Concept Tyre’, is the fact that because of their springy plastic-type material and plastic resin structure, they bring a stop to punctures, are very long lived and also have potentially much better cushioning than traditional car tyres.
To the downside, airless car tyres simply cannot produce the exact same kind of side forces like a proper tyre and in addition they do wear out.
Frequent followers will remember Michelin’s try at the airless car tyres from the 90’s that was excruciatingly known as the “Tweel”, a mix of wheel and tyre. Bridgestone’s 1st generation of airless car tyres from early 2011 got an intriguing construction, but very restricted capability. It had a higher rolling resistance than the more conventional tyre; its highest possible load bearing weight was only 220lb and highest possible speed 3.7mph.
This new edition, which first showed at this year’s Tokyo, japan motor show, features a highest possible load bearing weight of 904lb in addition to a maximum speed of 37mph, so it’s actually far more practical. It’s also much more environmentally sound, mainly because it has about the exact same rolling resistance as a standard tyre along with its synthetic resin structure is totally eco-friendly.
Bridgestone claims it’s continuing the research with its airless car tyres (and it has thankfully not given it a ridiculous name, yet) for the exact purpose of placing it on the current market as soon as it is practical.