The future starts now. Bridgestone is working on putting airless tires on your car. In fact, you may want to go chase them away. It may not be as good as a flying car, but at least we are one step closer to doing away with all that lousy air.
Airless tires aren’t precisely new at this point, we have already covered the amazing bulletproof airless ATV tires made by Polaris. But, to this point, they haven’t been on anything you would drive to work – unless you know you are a lumberjack.
We are still a ways away from being able to buy airless tires for our car because the Bridgestone tire is just a prototype. Bridgetstone’s engineers have managed to get them up to 37 mph. Though, I am not clear if that is a limitation of the tire or the weird electric golf-cart they have put them on. Seriously, that thing looks like it should be carting around jump-suited henchmen in a super-villain’s hollowed out volcano.
On the plus side, despite being experimental, the technology has some clear benefits. The most obvious is that an airless tire can’t blow out. In fact the Polaris version of the tech can take a bullet a half an inch wide straight through it and keep going for 350 miles.
More subtle, but perhaps more important, are the environmental and logistical benefits of the technology. For starters the tire, from its tread to its thermoplastic resin support structure, is completely recyclable.
In addition, the tire should offer dramatically lower rolling resistance, which has the effect of increasing fuel economy. How this is achieved, Bridgestone doesn’t explain, other than to say they are using proprietary technology.
Regardless of the specific, the airless technology might be out sooner than you think, so check back as we learn more.