More than 300 million tires are scrapped every year (link) and more often than not tires end up in landfills. When tires decompose they release chemicals, many of which are toxic, and end up polluting the environment.
The Technology – A new type of wheel that is more sustainable, resilient and efficient
- Michelin is a 128-year-old French tire manufacturer and an established player in the tire industry with nearly 14% of the global market share for tires (link). The company recently unveiled a radically different connect wheel called Vision.
- The wheel is made from a wide variety of materials from recycled (traditional) tire chips and natural rubber to hay and electronic and plastic waste.
- Michelin’s plans to embed sensors in the tire, thus making it a “smart tire” that will automatically adopt to the road conditions ahead and interact with the car’s computer. There are many potential applications that can rise from a modern and dynamic “connection” between a car’s “brain” and its wheels (for example: link)
- The wheel is still at its concept phase and is not ready for mass production. moreover, the company does not have an estimate date for the wheel’s commercial availability.
Every car owner can benefit from developments in tire technology. Nonetheless it is likely that consumers and companies that strongly relay on automobile transportation (e.g. cabs (or ride share operators), delivery companies (UPS, FedEx and alike) and municipal agencies) will greatly benefit from this technology, which is likely to also improve the vehicle’s MPG.
Step 1: Michelin needs to finalize the development of the product and secure the materials stream required for the mass production of the wheel.
Step 2: Invest in 3D production facilities or secure production contracts for mass production of the wheel. The company should simultaneously develop a support and maintenance infrastructure for the new wheel
Step 3: Introduce the wheel to the market in phases, first as a component of new cars and only later as a potential retrofit for older cars.
Company’s website – Link