ROME, Ga. — Pirelli & C. S.p.A.'s run-flat tire technology is turning 20 years old.
Since introduced the technology in 2001 on select passenger tires, the company has produced more than 70 million run-flat tires during the past two decades.
"Over the last 20 years, Pirelli's engineers have developed more than 1,000 different types of tires featuring run-flat technology, which are built to allow drivers to keep driving for up to 50 miles at a maximum speed of up to 50 mph," the company said.
Pirelli first tested the tires under some unique conditions and then adapted the technology to everyday use.
"Rallying is where this technology was tried and tested for the first time, with tires featuring a reinforced structure designed to allow driving after a puncture, which would otherwise cost several minutes in the heat of intense competition on a wide variety of roads," the company said.
More than a dozen vehicle makers now use Pirelli run-flat tires, including Audi A.G., Stellantis N.V. (Alfa Romeo and Jeep brands), BMW A.G., Mercedes-Benz A.G. and Rolls-Royce.
While the company now has a long history making run-flat tires, Pirelli also sees a future where the technology will play an even bigger role.
Electric vehicles typically do not have spare tires and instead use the space normally set aside for spares for batteries, the tire company explained.
"That's why several vehicle manufacturers choose extended mobility solutions such as Run Flat or Seal Inside to minimize inconvenience and allow
the driver to get to a shop in the event of most punctures," Pirelli said. "Run-flat technology is also expected to play an important role in future autonomous driving systems, by helping the vehicle remain operative in most road hazard events."