The Tweel Thing

This one has been doing the rounds since it was launched by Michelin a couple of years ago, but we’ve neglected it until now. The Tweel is a non-pneumatic wheel that does everything a traditional wheel does, except go flat. Flexible polyurethane spokes connect to an equally deformable hub. Rubber tread is bonded to the exterior of the Tweel for traction. As used in the test Audi shown here, Michelin suggest it comes within 5% of the rolling resistance (or 1% of fuel economy) of a standard inflatable wheel/tyre combination. Plus it is thought the Tweel should last at least a couple times longer than an ordinary pneumatic tyre, and remarkably cost less to purchase. This year the Tweel won an international Gold Medal Award for Innovation, to stick on the mantlepiece with the previous awards from Time and Popular Science magazines. But don’t expect to see it at your local tyre dealer anytime soon. (Maybe the cheaper price, and longevity had Michelin thinking twice.) Apparently it is still being tested on lower mass vehicles like the equally innovative balancing iBOT wheelchair and the Segway Centaur, which coincidently was my first TH post two years ago. Pics of the these two vehicles after the fold. ::Tweel, via Hugg (Matthew).

PS. And I wonder if we’ll we ever see a Twike sporting Tweels? That could be twuly twerific.