Michelin is showing off a concept tire they’re calling VISION, even though it’s really a concept tweel, if we’re being technical here. Michelin also says the tire is “rechargeable,” whatever that means in this context, and also “breaks with the codes of a tire,” whatever the hell that means. Oh, and their promo video of it seems to take place in a pristine Earth where humanity is almost extinct.
The tweel’s design appears to be some sort of foam lattice that’s 3D printed using recycled, bio-degradable materials, and the rubber tire portion of the tweel is a thin band that can be readily replaced. As Michelin’s press release says:
VISION is the world’s first tire that recharges. With the aid of 3D printers, it is possible to use just the right amount of rubber on the tire and thus extend its life depending on needs, thereby ensuring mobility in all situations. The tread design is optimized and its depth is reduced in order to reduce its thickness and make the tire more efficient in terms of materials. The tread design is adapted, in accordance with the user’s mobility needs, with a triple concern for comfort, safety and sustainability.
So, that’s what they mean by ‘rechargable.’ That concept is also what they show in this video made to show off the concept tire in some vague nearish future:
Okay, I ge the basic concept, but this video brings up a lot of questions: why is the tire recharging center out in the middle of some desolate desert, way the hell away from the city? Was that the closest one to them? Why does the button say ‘LAUNCH PRINTING OF TIRES?’ instead of just “PRINT TIRES?’ Where did the lady with the ear-necklace thing get that ice cream? What happened to colors? And, most importantly, where the hell are all the people?
That city looks huge, and yet there’s zero traffic on any of the roads. The opening overhead shot shows other houses on those hexagonal lots, but no other cars. There’s no other cars or people anywhere. The couple is planning a trip to the mountains, where they’re told its snowy, and the woman is just going to wear that sleeveless top?
I think they may be the last people left on a dying Earth, and yet they’re heading to Ellis Mountain (which seems to be in Montana). On a more upbeat note, Ellis Mountain also seems to make rocket motors (well, hobby ones). Perhaps there’s a spaceport there, and they’re going to re-join the rest of humanity on the habitable ring we’ve built around the no-longer inhabitable Earth?
If your goal was to give me a sense of grim fatality about the eventual extinction of mankind via advanced tweel concepts, Michelin, then, well, mission accomplished.