If you buy a reliable car, it’ll last you for more than 100,000 miles. But your first set of tires will only last for a fraction of that. Then they’re off to the landfill, or an energy-intensive recycling process, while you buy a new set. Rinse and repeat. And if you’ve ever seen an entire field of spent tires being set on fire just to get rid of them—and I have seen this—you really think to yourself “What the hell are we doing here, as a species?”
Tire manufacturer Michelin is looking to a future where this cycle no longer occurs. Their Visionary Concept tire, which is non-pneumatic, would be 3D-printed from biodegradable materials. And intriguingly, the tread surface of the tire could be renewed—on-car, in their vision—with a new layer printed directly on top of it:
I like that the video shows everything from the UX point of view. With futuristic technologies, I think it’s always better to relate to the consumer how, precisely, the new concept would fit into their lives.
Michelin hasn’t announced any concrete plans to produce the tire; it’s intended to showcase the type of thinking that guides their R&D. They’re aiming to create…
…A circular economy capable of protecting the planet’s resources by reducing, reusing, renewing or recycling the materials required to manufacture our products, and avoid leaving a negative impact on the environment. This approach has been dubbed the “4R Strategy” at Michelin, for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Renew. We bear in mind that, for mobility to have a bright future, it will have to be ever safer, more efficient and more environmentally friendly.