Report: Airless tires inch closer toward market launch despite challenges

Could this be the next big thing?
by Drei Laurel | May 17, 2022
PHOTO: Toyo Tires

The age of the airless tire could almost be upon us—at least if tire manufacturers can overcome the last few hurdles keeping this technological advancement at bay. And it does look like this is the case.

According to a report by Nikkei Asia, Toyo Tires is inching closer toward a market release for its airless offerings. In fact, the brand says its product is now comparable in performance to regular air-filled models.

“We've made revolutionary advancements in our technology,” the company’s head of research and development Tamotsu Mizutani told Nikkei Asia.

Supposedly, Toyo Tires’ aptly named “noair” non-pneumatic products are now 10 times as durable as they were when development began in 2006, with “breaking strength” up by 40%. They feature a proprietary design made up of crisscrossing spokes, and are being advertised as a “maintenance-free” and “spare-less” solution.

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While the report says the company is already gearing up for mass production, there’s a catch: Airless tires are still illegal in the company’s home market of Japan. Because of this, Toyo Tires initially plans to sell these products for use only on private property like golf courses. High production costs remain a barrier, too.

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The brand remains hopeful, though, with a representative saying tire demand will change along with the broader adoption of electric vehicles. “Well seek more applications for airless tires while moving quickly toward commercialization,” the representative told Nikkei Asia.

Toyo Tires isn’t the only manufacturer busy developing airless versions of its products. Hankook, with its I-Flex tire, is another. Michelin has been hard at work bringing its own airless tire to market as well. Which company do you think will be the first to get this stuff in motorists’ hands?

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PHOTO: Toyo Tires
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