Bridgestone and Idemitsu Kosan Co. in Japan will test the former’s airless tires on a compact electric vehicle in February 2023 to evaluate if the future of tire technology can rely on the resin spokes of bouncy tires that do not require air inflation.
Bridgestone’s patented ‘Air Free Concept’ was first proposed in 2011. The tires can be seen loaded with spokes inside and a rubber lining on the outside. When the tires roll over speed bumps, they follow the uneven curves, protecting the drivers from being thrown out of their seats if they ride too fast.
Bridgestone’s airless tires strive to eliminate the demand for tire management, particularly when it comes to air pressure and having a punctured tire. According to the tire manufacturer, conventional tires are filled with high-pressure air, giving them a spring-like function to support vehicle weight and absorb impact from the road surface, similar to an inflated ball.
“If the air pressure is not appropriate or the tire is flat, there may be a problem with driving,” says the manufacturer. Bridgestone adds that the resin spokes of its ‘Air Free Concept’ technology provide higher flexibility for design and recyclability than conventional tires.
Trying to get to grips with the capacity of Bridgestone’s spokes-filled tires with Idemitsu Kosan Co. electric vehicle can help the two further investigate the possible carbon-neutral effects and resource-recycling uses of materials when people begin to shift to electric cars and even bicycles in the future.
“We believe that the Air Free Concept developed by Bridgestone is environmentally friendly. The puncture-free tires reduce the risk of vehicle stoppages and are expected to improve utility value for customers,” said Akira Oishi, general manager mobility strategy office, Idemitsu Kosan.