The wheel first and still evolving

The Bridgestone man at work looks cool and has some advantages, like no punctures.

The spokes are made of reusable thermoplastic resin. In design, interest is drawn toward the thermoplastic fins, staggered so that connections to the hub and the rim do not torque and there is no structural breakdown. The tires’ resin spokes radiate from rim to tread. They curve to the left and right to support vehicle loads.

But one wonders about delamination at speed, effects of dirt and grime etc. But eventually this looks likely to come, their looking at light weight low speed applications first. If we ever see them on r ace cars we’ll know the technology is almost ready for prime time. Michelin and Yokohama have been working on ‘airless’ tires for years as well.

Also in the world of the wheel, another Michelin tech lead:


Each Michelin in-wheel motor weighs 42 kilogram (95 pound) and includes a 30 Kilowatt water-cooled drive motor of a similar size to a conventional starter motor. The motor has a spur gear that drives a rind gear on the hub. A second electric motor operates the active suspension via a gear rack and pinion that effectively replaces the normal hydraulic shock absorber (no news on if they are used as regenerative shocks). There is also a coil spring to hold the static load of the car and a small outer rotor disc brake. The wheel motor is attached to the vehicle chassis by a single lower control arm suspension arrangement.

The advantage here is that every wheel station on the car is identical, just programmed to be right front vs. left rear, no heavy suspension elements in the body so a simpler/rugged/lighter cargo tub for the fragile humans. This was the concept that GM touted when they were head over ass in love with fuel cells and the ‘skateboard’ that eventually faded away to make way for the Volt.

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