Montreal — Tire making giant Michelin has a new concept tire and wheel, one that wouldn't require air but instead would use 3D printing to create a complex structure that would provide both structural strength and flexibility.
The Vision concept, unveiled by Michelin at its Movin' On conference in Montreal June 13-15, also would use 3D printing for tire treads, allowing consumers to easily switch their tires for winter conditions or smooth pavement.
While the company did not reveal specifics about what material it would use, it referred to making the Vision an "organic tire developed from biosourced, biodegradeable materials."
The French firm, with North American headquarters in Greenville, S.C., also said the Vision is "a dream within reach" because it draws on a "convergence of innovations" the company's research groups already have studied.
"In managing research and development at Michelin, I often get the question, how do we select our plans for disruptive technologies?" Terry Gettys, executive vice president of research and development said at the Movin' On news conference. "We try to deliver on this proposition: better solutions for sustainable mobility."