GREENVILLE, S.C. (Nov. 8, 2005) — Popular Science magazine has named Group Michelin's Tweel non-pneumatic tire and wheel assembly one of its “100 Most Innovative Products of the Year.”
The Tweel leads the list of products named by Popular Science to its “Best of What's New” honor in the Automotive Technology category. It will be featured in a special section of the December issue of the publication.
“Michelin is pleased to be recognized by the editors of Popular Science for our latest innovation,” said Terry Gettys, president of Michelin Americas Research and Development Corp.
“We believe (the) Tweel has the potential to transform mobility in a variety of applications and already delivers some unique performance characteristics to wheelchairs, construction equipment, military vehicles and more.”
The Tweel replaces the need for air pressure with an elastomeric hub-and-spoke design that Michelin claims delivers performance equal to that of pneumatic tires. The flexible spokes are fused with a flexible wheel that deforms to absorb shock and rebound with ease.
Michelin said it is developing a variety of low-speed applications for the innovation, ranging from the iBOT wheelchair to construction equipment to military vehicles and more. The first applications for higher-speed vehicles are expected within eight to 15 years.