Is the future of tire technology based on no air? Michelin is heavily researching airless technology, and it believes that airless tires will become a significant part of its future tire lineup.

Think about the advantages of a tire that doesn’t have to be filled with air:
• No more worrying about sidewall damage, which accounts for roughly 20% of tires prematurely taken out of service. With no more tears or punctures due to scraping a curb or getting a sideways puncture, that is hundreds of millions of tires that won’t have to be replaced annually.
• Airless tires will potentially use less material and take less time to manufacture.
• No more spares, jacks, repair kits or tire-pressure sensors will be needed in cars. How amazing would it be to not have to visit a dealership or a gas station when it first gets cold in the fall, when your tire pressure sensors suddenly say you don’t have enough air in your tires?!
• From a safety perspective, you don’t have to worry about flat tires or blowouts or underinflated tires.

Michelin is testing prototypes, as are other manufacturers. It’s an entirely different way to make tires, so it isn’t something that we’ll see on our cars anytime soon. But the advantages of not having to depend on pneumatic tubes is compelling and worth watching. Airless tires have the potential to be a better product, which is what ultimately will prevail.