Could ‘airless’ tyres be coming to a car near you?

By Tom Bentley
on July 9, 2019 at 10:47:46 AM BST

Could ‘airless’ tyres be coming to a car near you?

By Tom Bentley
on July 9, 2019 at 10:47:46 AM BST

Tom from Motokiki has the low down....

What are ‘airless’ tyres?

Non-pneumatic tyres (NPT), or as they are more commonly known, ‘airless’ tyres are ones which are not filled with air but are constructed in a way which means that they are supported by an internal structure that provides the strength to keep vehicles moving.

Where are they being used?

They are currently being used on some small vehicles such as riding lawn mowers and golf carts.  They are also being used on heavy construction vehicles which normally are required to operate on rough and/or uneven terrain where the chances of punctures are high.

Are we likely to see them on our roads anytime soon?

At present, a number of tyre manufacturers are developing and testing airless tyres so it seems we are some way off from seeing them on our roads.  However, if current testing is successful they could be on our roads in the next 5-10 years, so watch this space!

Will I be able to buy airless tyres on Motokiki?

Airless tyres are still very much in the early stages of development but rest assured we are keeping our ear to the ground and as soon as they are readily available you will be able to search, choose any buy airless tyres in the same easy way you can buy traditional tyres  today.

What are the benefits of airless tyres?

One primary advantage is that they do not blow out or got flat which means that they are likely not to need replacing as often. It is claimed that they are also able to carry heavier loads and can undertake more activities on more rugged terrain.

It is claimed that drivers will never have to worry about a flat tyre as airless tyres have no air. For most drivers, this feature will sound nothing short of revolutionary and would be a significant advancement from run-flat tyres , which can be driven on for up to 50 miles after a puncture.

What are the disadvantages?

‘Airless’ tyres have been shown to have a higher rolling resistance meaning that they are less fuel efficient .  In addition, they provide reduced suspension capabilities than conventional tyres.

The drawbacks to airless tyres depend on the use. Heavy equipment operators who use machinery with solid tyres will complain of fatigue whereas lawn mowers that use solid or air less tyres have no drawbacks.

Airless tyres currently under development are heavier than the rubber tyre it is meant to replace.

Does this mean an end to carrying a spare tyre in the boot?

Possibly, as drivers you won’t be changing or repairing a flat, they won’t need to carry a spare.  This could free up valuable boot space and no spare tyre also means less weight and less weight means better fuel economy.

 

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