Non-pneumatic tires, also known as airless tires or flat-free tires, are game changers when it comes to off-road and emergency driving. The simple honeycomb lattice design serves the same function as a traditional inflated tire without the risk of punctures or leaks. These tires have a range of applications from off-road enthusiasts to military vehicles. This Dodge Ram 2500 shows what these tires can do on some rocky terrain, and they definitely hold up.
Now, if you know anything about non-pneumatic tires, you probably immediately came to the conclusion that seeing them used on your average car or truck is pretty out of the ordinary. For those of you who don’t know, airless tires are typically used on bicycles, wheelchairs, riding lawn mowers, motorized golf carts, and a variety of other heavy lawn equipment.
Over the years, a number of major tire companies have experimented with airless tire technology. Michelin, for example, developed the “Tweel” (combination of tire and wheel) a few years back. The manufacturer claims that the “Tweel” has better load carrying, shock absorbing, and handling characteristics than your average tire, and these airless tires have been used on everything from ATVs and UTVs to skid steer loaders.
Bridgestone, on the other hand, has the Bridgestone Air-Free Concept Tire, which is similar to the Tweel and can hold around 330 pounds per tire. There’s also the iFlex airless tire from Hankook Tire.
While airless tires are only being used on commercial vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, and construction vehicles at the moment, only time will tell whether this technology will start being utilized on your everyday commuter rides.
This post was originally published on December 19, 2016.