Michelin over the weekend unveiled a new tire concept, the Vision. According to Car and Driver, the Vision is an airless, spongelike tire that is printed on a 3D printer. It eliminates the need to maintain the right air pressure, since it’s airless, but is still said to be flexible and durable and there’s no chance of a dangerous blow out.
The Vision is made of recycled, biodegradable, recyclable and organic material, so the environmental impact would be greatly reduced compared to current tires. The use of 3D printing allows it to be crafted in a way that is less wasteful but is customizable for varied uses and renewable.
In the company’s visionary future, consumers could choose, from their home computers, which type of tire (winter, summer, all-season, slick) they want and press a button, then go to a 3D printing station to pick up the tire. The station could also “recharge” tires once tread wears down, eliminating the need to purchase new tires.
So far, no word on when, or if, this tire will be available to the general public.