Check Out Tesla’s Nifty Semi Tire Inflation Patent


We may see this in action on the upcoming Tesla Semi, Model Y, and pickup truck.

As usual, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was excited about the future of the company and its goals during the recent Tesla Q3 earnings call. We listened in and provided you with a real-time synopsis of the happenings. However, there are always some quick mentions that slip through the cracks or are not made abundantly clear during the call. One such key future concept is an automatic tire inflation system for the Tesla Semi, which could seemingly make its way into other future Tesla vehicles, like the Model Y and Tesla Pickup Truck.

While a new patent wasn’t specifically mentioned during the earnings call, we give Kudos to Teslarati for tracking down this interesting information. Apparently, a recent patent application (October 18, 2018) points to a system that will auto-inflate the tires on the upcoming Tesla Semi. As shown by the publication, it’s referred to and titled as “Automatic Tire Inflation System with Thru-Hub Air Feed.” See the related schematic below:

Tesla Self-Inflating Tire Patent Diagram (Source: US Patent Office, via Teslarati)

Automatic tire inflation systems are not new. In fact, several companies are working on them and some are already in practice. But, Tesla believes its idea supersedes those of the past. The system could require less maintenance and make tires last even longer. According to Teslarati, via the official patent document explaining the Tesla ATIS system:

These prior solutions had a number of shortcomings. With some prior art techniques, air was fed through hollow drive axles to a fitting located on the end thereof. The fitting was then coupled to the air inlets of the tires. To couple the air into the hollow drive axles, a rotatingly attached fitting coupled air from an air storage to the inside of the hollow axles. This fitting was subject to leakage of contaminants. These contaminants interfered with the operation of the ATIS and eventually caused the ATIS to fail.

In order to overcome the shortcomings described above among other shortcomings, an Automatic Tire Inflation System (ATIS) for use with a vehicle according to a first described embodiment includes a controller, valves controlled by the controller, the valves having an air supply inlet, and a plurality of air outlets. Further, the ATIS includes, for at least one drive axle having inner bearings and outer bearings, a channel formed in a spindle, first hosing coupling a valve of the valves controlled by the controller to the channel formed in the spindle, a channel formed in a hub, a rotary air seal residing between the inner bearings and the outer bearings and coupling the channel formed in the spindle to the channel formed in the hub, and second hosing coupling the channel formed in the hub to at least one wheel.

Thus, as compared to the prior ATIS systems, the ATIS of the first embodiment, significantly reduces contamination in the ATIS air stream. Reduction in contamination extends the life of the ATIS, extends spindle life, extends hub life, and extends serviced wheel/tire lives and extends maintenance intervals.

For more information about this new Tesla technology, follow this link.

Source: Teslarati

Categories: Tesla

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10 Comments on "Check Out Tesla’s Nifty Semi Tire Inflation Patent"

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Wasn’t this cool new patented technology used in military vehicles like 50 years ago?
EDIT: ok, they mention they improved it a bit 🙂

It’s used on trucks for bad roads among other things.

Yeah, I was in a Toyota Arctic Truck pick-up last year, and the driver changed tire pressure depending on need.

As long as Tesla can make it highly reliable and kind of cheap – this could save truck companies a lot of money, and improve safety.

In the 70’s my sister drove a Senicrusier bus with a tire inflation control panel by the driver.

In Brazil it is very common trucks with tire inflation. Many foreigners would ask me what was the funny hoses going to the center of the wheel in many trucks.

Coming to son to Teslas. S, X, and 3.

A really innovative design would be to include a device inside the wheel that uses centripetal force to suck air in through a valve (if pressure is low) every time you accelerate (i.e. retract when you slow, expand to create vacuum as speed increases)
This won’t help if you have a major leak but that requires a repair anyway. This would help maintain proper air pressure by making continual small adjustments.

What is already out there is pretty reliable, looks like a more expensive reinventing of the wheel to me.

But kudos to Tesla inventing stuff

This is nifty but not new. I hope the Patent Office denies their patent application.

Gosh, I wish we would be allowed to view this much about the truck itself rather than a silly inflator which isn’t really patentable since its just a slight variation of 50 year old systems. Why can’t we see even a basic schematic with the slightest detail about the truck itself?