Imagine a future in which your tire is also a wheel: puncture-proof because there is no pressure. Its ruggedness comes from its biomimetic structure, as if it had been created by Nature... A wheel made of recycled materials and which is completely recycled at the end of its life, after having covered thousands and thousands of kilometers - as long as the vehicle itself.
Now imagine that you don't have to worry any more about keeping your loved ones safe when you travel, because road conditions and bad weather don't matter any more: your tread instantly adjusts to your driving conditions, whenever necessary, using just the right amount of materials. A tread that can be modified and replenished at will, without wasting any resources, time or money, and which protects the environment for the generations to come...
This mobility solution... Michelin has imagined it. And even a bit more than that: the prototype of the MICHELIN Visionary Concept unveiled on the Michelin stand at Movin'On in Montreal (June 13 to 15) sparked intense curiosity among experts and the international press.
Picture: The Visionary MICHELIN Concept Tire (credit: MICHELIN)
What is the MICHELIN Visionary Concept?
Think of it as a combination of three parts:
1) First, a wheel with no air, designed to last as long as the vehicle. Its ultra-durability comes from its honeycomb structure, which is inspired by natural models (we call it generative design: a form that mimics the natural growth process at work in the plant, mineral or sometimes even animal world, such as in corals, for example). It is made of recycled materials and it is fully recyclable.
2) Next, a tread with a very distinctive feature: it can be "replenished" by a 3D printer. The material used, which draws on cold cure technology, delivers the same performances as a conventional tread. But with one notable difference: it is completely biodegradable. And what is the advantage of this? Maybe your tire's tread is worn or maybe your road conditions have changed (you're driving off-road or in rain, snow, heat, etc.), but you can print the tread you need in a matter of minutes! What's more, 3D printing is an additive technology, which means that it adds just the quantity of material that is necessary, where it is necessary, with no waste or loss.
3) Lastly, MICHELIN Visionary Concept is connected: it communicates with your vehicle and your vehicle communicates with it. Without getting out of your car or even leaving your home, you can be informed of the wear on your tread and program a tread reprint, choosing the type of tread pattern you need at that particular time for your intended tire use, or simply following the suggestion made by the embedded app, which detects your requirements.
Michelin's vision of future mobility is also based on a vision of the entire economy that guides our Research and our innovations. A circular economy capable of protecting the planet's resources by reducing, reusing, renewing or recycling the materials required to manufacture our products, and avoid leaving a negative impact on the environment. This approach has been dubbed the "4R Strategy" at Michelin, for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Renew. We bear in mind that, for mobility to have a bright future, it will have to be ever safer, more efficient and more environmentally friendly.