FRANKFURT, Germany — Group Michelin and Maxion Wheels have developed a car wheel, which incorporates flexible rubber flanges that they claim can absorb impacts from potholes and curbs and improve ride and comfort.
The wheel, dubbed Michelin Acorus, is compatible with all tires on the market and comprises an alloy rim that is narrower than normal, two rubber flanges and an optional cosmetic insert to protect the alloy wheel, Maxion said at the Frankfurt Motor Show, where the partners debuted the product/technology.
In tests with a 285/30R21 tire driven through a pothole, the standard rim version punctured the tire at 17 mph, whereas an Acorus flexible wheel did not puncture or sustain damage at any speed, the development partners said.
The name Acorus is taken from Acorus Calamus, a wetland plant that looks like a reed. It is featured in a French fable "the oak and the reed" with the wisdom that "a reed bends but does not break."
Michelin Chief Operating Officer Florent Menegaux pointed out that the new design is particularly useful today as the vehicle industry specs larger and larger wheels on their cars.
"…large shiny alloys are an integral part of all modern car designs," Mr. Menegaux said, "However, the resulting low profile tires with short sidewalls are much more susceptible to damage on today's deteriorating roads with myriad potholes."