Revolutionary TWEEL ready for consumers?
The wheel has served mankind for eons, but now it has finally arrived in the 21st century.
Since 2005 Michelin Tires has been working on a tire that doesn't need air, and no, it’s not a rigid wagon wheel. Its a tire that has built in shock absorbers that will never become flat or blow out.
Its called the Tweel and it recently hit the market for industrial skid-steers.
In April of 2013 it earned the silver “Edison Award” given in the spirit of "persistence and excellence personified by Thomas Alva Edison."
But the question on everyone's mind now is, “when can I get one for my car?”
The buzz on many online forums and websites claim technical setbacks due to vibrations and noise at high speeds have kept it off the market, some speculate that Big Oil and Big Rubber may never let such a product reach consumers.
So I decided to call Michelin tire and see what they had to say about the matter.
Michelin’s Mary Ann Kotlarich revealed to me that prototypes had resolved the wind noise and vibration issue years ago, and that shes been working to correct the facts for some time now and revealed a different reason for this revolutionary product being kept off the roads.
She stated, “wind noise and vibration is not a fact withholding consumer use. The Department of Transportation would need to make changes in regulation before consumer use could be applied” citing current regulations that require air to be in tires on America’s Highways.
According to Michelin, “The introduction of passenger car and light truck applications of the Tweel is still years away, as further developments must meet Michelin’s demanding standards of safety and handling. However, no fundamental blocking points have been found and work continues in research and development.”
Further clarifying the high speed wind noise and vibration issue, John Webber writing for Grassroots Motorsports reported in the October 2012 article titled “The Tweel is For Reel,” “Early issues in regards to noise and high speed vibration were resolved in subsequent prototypes and current automotive Tweel prototypes have shown to be reliable and well behaved.”
Demonstrating their durability, Webber reported that, “Three highway driven vehicles successfully participated in the entire 2013 Hot Rod power Tour long distance road trip in June 2013.”
PHOTO CREDIT JOHN WEBBER, HOT ROD POWER TOUR:
These images from the 2013 Hot Rod Power Tour give us a glimpse of the future of motoring in America. Zach Merrill, who works for Michelin, placed road-ready prototypes on his 1955 Morris Woodie and completed the Tour, as he says, “like riding on air."
At this point in time Michelin Tires is the only tire manufacturer with an airless tire on the commercial market and plans for a mass produced consumer model still years away.
So until the Department of Transportation is lobbied by the American consumer and Michelin meets it’s safety benchmarks we’ll all have to admire them on small construction vehicles, military humvees, and the occasional public display.
GARY S. FRANCHI JR.. is a filmmaker, broadcaster, national grassroots organizer, and is the successor to the late Hollywood Producer Aaron Russo (Trading Places, The Rose) as the National Director of Restore The Republic (RTR). RTR.org is a powerful Activist Networking site, dedicated to spreading Freedom and Liberty, and was formed in response to the success of Russo’s film “America: Freedom to Fascism.” RTR was later singled out by Congressman Ron Paul for bringing tens of thousands of new patriots into the Ron Paul Presidential Campaign. His productions have been seen on CNN, PBS, Discovery, History Channel and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Gary serves as President and Executive Producer of Next News Network (known in Web shorthand as N3), the first 24/7 broadcast network dedicated to the restoration and preservation of individual liberty and America’s distinctive values and institutions. Visit NextNewsNetwork.Com to tune in to the broadcast feed.