News: Michelin reinvents the wheel with the Tweel airless tyre

Air today, gone tomorrow

Michelin Tweel for grass

BLOWOUTS, PUNCTURES and forecourt air machines that swallow loose change and rarely work could all be committed to the history books as Michelin commences production of its revolutionary non-pneumatic Tweel tyre.

The Tweel, which was first seen as a concept in 2005, replaces the traditional tyre and wheel assembly with one unit. Comprising a rigid hub connected to an I-beam-shaped rim by flexible polyurethane spokes, the Tweel is well suited to rugged off-road vehicles.

Michelin has just opened an American factory in Piedmont, South Carolina, dedicated to the manufacture of the device. The company is investing around $50m (£32m) in the facility.

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The puncture-proof wheels will be first fitted to the US firm John Deere’s coming line of commercial mowers but could soon be expanded to other slow-speed applications, such as farm machinery and quad bikes.

Michelin Tweel all terrain and hard surface

There are no plans to develop the airless wheel for roadgoing vehicles, although tests on saloon cars have taken place.


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