ABC News today ran an article profiling Michelin North America’s chairman Pete Selleck, and the company’s new airless tire called Tweel.
While we first covered the the technology back in the Spring of 2010 in Citroënvie, in today’s story Mr. Selleck discussed specific applications and a timeframe for commercial availability. The announcement came as part of the opening of a new Michelin factory in Piedmont, South Carolina, its tenth manufacturing facility in the state and its 16th in the country.
Shellack said at the moment Tweel tires are destined for industrial applications like John Deere’s commercial mowers. “Down the road, who knows maybe the Tweel will replace the pneumatic tire. We are going to innovate on the Tweel, and we will let the future happen. If the Tweel does in fact come to passenger cars, I can assure you Michelin will be the first.”
Technical issues are a factor in making the tires, and so is cost. “Our customers have such a huge problem with flat tires, they don’t really care with the cost. The downtime to deal with flat tires is so great – finding a solution is almost priceless. The commercial lawnmower John Deere that will be offering Tweel is about $750 more.”
Tweel is the most revolutionary product since the company first introduced the radial tire on the Traction Avant. Cost premiums are cited as the main reason for delaying passenger tire applications, but given that it may be a few years before the tire appears, wouldn’t it be something, and really quite fitting, if they chose a Citroën as the first automobile to be so equipped?
If Citroën were clever, when they return to North America, as they stated they would be doing in the early 2020’s, (see our blog article on that recent announcement from Sept. 26 and Oct 8, 2015) the timing of that event could be the perfect opportunity to have Tweels be the tire that meets the road on new Citroëns that debut here.
Read the full ABC article at: