If You’re Going to Present Airless Tire Tech in Geneva, This Is How You Do It

MAR 4 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 38

Airless tires are being displayed at the Geneva Motor Show by Bridgestone.

Airless Tire

Airless Tire

This is certainly not the first time we’ve seen airless tire tech and it definitely won’t be the last.

Airless tire tech, once perfected, promises to reduce unsprung weight substantially.ย  This weight reduction, coupled with low-rolling resistance, will boost an EV’s range ever so slightly.

However slight the bump is, it’s still worth, especially for range-restricted EVs.

Airless tires have downsides though, such as their odd appearance and ride characteristics that vary depending on the temp of the materials within the tire.

These issues can surely be solved and Bridgestone knows that.

But as we stated in the title, if your goal is to show off your airless tire tech on the stage of the world’s biggest auto show, then you need to be able to draw a crowd.

Bridgestone had no problem drawing in the crowd, most of whom later realized that it was a tire on display and not (wait a second, there’s a tire and even an EV in that lead image?)…

 

 

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38 Comments on "If You’re Going to Present Airless Tire Tech in Geneva, This Is How You Do It"

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Interesting! I’ve never seen these before. Reduced weight is great and never having to worry about a flat is kinda cool. I suspect they do break apart eventually though.

You’ve never seen a woman?! Oh, you mean the tires…

Oh, it’s a blue Tweel. :p

Road noise and unwanted lateral deformations during hugh speed turns are stll significant problems with these…

all i see are legs and a blue dress…. where’s the tire?

So here’s a noob question… How do airless tires reduce unsprung weight?

They don’t have steel belts and all the nylons plies and such that are heavy. Furthermore, the rubber is much thinner as it doesn’t have to have the ability to withstand a puncture.

Interesting, that makes sense. Thanks Eric!

Eric, do you think no women read the site? Please leave the sexism to your private conversations.

Oh, calm down.

Yeah, clearly the model is there (in the photo) to be attractive. Is this sexist (on Bridgestone’s part)? Perhaps. (i.e., Why not a sexy guy standing there?) But, you could make the same jokes about that (“oh, there were tires? all I saw was muscles”).

“James” is a funny name for a woman…

I better weigh in, before someone mistakes James for me, the other James. Eric, your joke in the headline and article would be funnier if that guy in the picture was looking at the girl…he is truly looking very excited about the wheel! Those wheels are exciting. Nothing new about attractive female models in auto shows or any show predominately attended by males. Why is it done? Not really sure…Statistics always show that men end up looking at an attractive female in an advertisement, thus losing the attention where it’s supposed to be directed- the product! The intent is that the product will gain sex appeal by association. It doesn’t. No matter how many mechanic’s shops have girly calenders from Hooker Headers or Acme Oil, we really don’t put that association together , subconsciously, or not. Yes, we males believe that if we have a nice car – we will attract the ladies, in itself, an indicator of female IQ being higher than that of males. Just think, if a girl likes you because of your car – she’s a materialistic gold-digger, right? It goes wayyy beyond cars, as we see tractor ads with attractive girls, ( sigh ). So… Read more »
I’ll also conclude that Eric understands his audience well. He knows that 98% of car website and magazine readers are male. Period. So to play to his demographic is wise, not tasteless. Last time I saw this was when Motor Trend showed a new Mustang with a girl in a mini skirt standing next to it. Unbelievably, there were 2 of 27 letters in the mailbag the next month saying, “I’ll never buy another MT magazine, MT is no place to show young ladies”…LOL! Here are two other facts I find very fascinating; 1) Women love looking at beautiful women. My mother used to watch The Tonight Show primarily to see what hot dress an actress or female singer was wearing! Studies show that when a male coworker or acquaintance tells a women she looks nice today, it means nearly nothing – yet, when another female tells the same women she looks nice today – it carries a great deal of weight with her! Go figure that one out, James ( the other James )! 2) Women like men to be men! WOW, WHAT A REVELATION! Women understand men are visual and look at attractive women. It’s HOW we look,… Read more »

What car is that? (and is it an EV ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Was wondering myself…

It had a Toyota sticker on the back.

I did some Googling. It’s the Toyota Coms EV.

It’s cute, but it needs wider tires … those skinny ones will leave imprints in the fairway. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Good Googling, K!

Interesting find. Looks like a cross between a Pokemon and a golf cart… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Looks like Bridgestone really has a leg up on the competition….

(I’ll be here all week, try the casserole!)

How will these tires perform in snow or mud as they will clearly fill the crevices and knock the wheels off balance?

Those aren’t ATV tuned Tweels…

There was some discussion years ago about using these for modified segways on the moon or mars, for astronauts. Kinda like a personal mini-moon buggy…

Twizy might well benefit from Tweels. We all know by now the Twizy
rides like a truck. In lieu of an expensive suspension, perhaps Renault
can just put tweels on there to increase bump compliance.

That’s a HOT BLONDE!!!!

I’d like to see the seat, but that silly chick wearing her husband’s work shirt is in the way. Nice tires but the color would clash with cherry red metallic.

What you got against “Tron Blue”?

Work shirt? — I thought it was a medic uniform from Star Trek.

Can you imagine low to medium speed driving in the rain? Worse yet through slush which subsequently freezes. LOL

Yeah, those tires would be totally impractical in anything resembling winter … much like her outfit! ๐Ÿ˜‰

With her up on a platform like that, I suspect many people will be tempted to take a closer look at those tires… with the hope maybe they can catch a glance up her dress.

The Tweel has been with us for some time now. We’re all waiting for those breakthroughs to allow airless tires to hit the marketplace. Run-flats are also very intriguing for us EVers. Why carry Tire Goo when you don’t have to worry about a flat at all? Spare tires are heavy and where do you fit even a proprietary- small type when stuffing in more batteries is preferred? Run-flats have been notoriously slow to develop for the mainstream. They ride hard and cost too much. The Tweel seems to be like that better lithium battery we wait for – elusive. I wonder about aerodynamics, because it has to stay cool and as flexible as a conventional tire, thus the open sidewalls. This Bridgestone version uses a wheel, which is something I have not seen much of. One other thing is, dirt. Won’t these open-sidewalls collect dirt and dust? Will they throw dirt, dust and rocks around? Imagine a pebble spinning around at higher speeds and flinging out into the paths of other cars… I think they need some kind of faux sidewall, and perhaps cooling vents in the wheel to direct cool air into the tire from within. Lower rolling… Read more »

These are interesting too.

Polaris Terrain Armor Tire Technology

I like that design better, but still not seeing sharp turns to judge if they’ve solved the sideways deformation issue..

I don’t think that was ever an issue. When reviewers took test drives in cars with the tweel years back, they remarked how responsive the handling felt, because such tires have MORE lateral stiffness than a pneumatic tire.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tweel#Benefits_and_drawbacks

I worked on this concept 20 years ago — many, many issues. Biggest problem is junk getting stuck in between the elastic sections.