We will soon be able to drive our cars without having to worry about ever getting a puncture again, writes Padraic Deane.
It will be made possible by revolutionary ‘air free’ tyres that rely on a hi-tech mesh of thermoplastic resin rather than air to stay ‘inflated’ – and that means they cannot go flat.
The material in them is flexible, durable and 100pc recyclable.
Predictions are that the new tyres will be on Irish cars within three to five years. Talks with car makers have already begun about having them fitted to upcoming models.
A series of special spokes stretching along the inner sides of the tyres supports the vehicle’s weight.
That means not having to periodically refill the tyres with air. And the worry of punctures is eliminated.
The concept has been in development for some time, but Bridgestone has announced it is now in a position to have the tyres on the road in the near future.
The 'Air Free’ concept for cars was unveiled to great fanfare in Japan in 2013, but obviously much has progressed since then.
Bridgestone's global marketing chief, Shu Ishibashim says: “We are already in talks with numerous car manufactures and we plan to introduce the ‘air free’ tyre to the market within a three to five year period."
Air-free tyres have been used on small vehicles such as motorised golf carts for some time, but their lack of flexibility and rolling resistance restricted their use.
Now Bridgestone says it will be first to market the concept.
It is claimed these tyres will be safer and less wasteful and that the thermoplastic resin used to keep them inflated can be recycled into new tyres.