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Michelin’s newest tire doesn’t need air, and can be ‘recharged’ rather than thrown away

Published Jun 20th, 2017 6:01PM EDT
michelin vision tire

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Like many other companies in the automotive industry, Michelin is looking far into the future to envision what its products might look like some day. The result is a new concept tire that not only looks a good bit different from the rubber currently wrapped around your wheels, but is also completely airless. Michelin calls it the Vision tire, and it really has to be seen to be believed.

The tire, which was unveiled at the company’s Movin’ On 2017 conference, is completely 3D printed, and has an extremely unique honeycomb-like structure that allows it to function just fine without any kind of pressurized air to hold its shape. In fact, the tire isn’t just a tire; Vision is essentially both a tire and wheel in one, and it’s crafted out of completely biodegradable and bio-sourced materials, making it a much more environmentally friendly option when compared with modern black rubber tires.

But Vision doesn’t just look futuristic, it’s also packed with sensors that relay information about the tire’s condition. That info is sent to a Michelin mobile app which the owner can use to make an appointment to have the tire “recharged” with fresh tread, via 3D printing.

Of course, the tire is still nothing more than a concept at this stage, and while it does seem like a promising solution and fantastic alternative to use-’em-and-lose-’em rubber tires on roads today, the company doesn’t have any public plans to bring the Vision concept to market quite yet.