A patent on Nissan’s airless tire has been filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization. Goodyear introduced its airless tire technology in 2022 and Michelin unveiled its Uptis tire this year. The airless tire from the Japanese brand also uses a similar concept. Since the tire is not fully enclosed by sidewalls, it does not require air and instead is made up of multiple flexible spokes arranged to absorb impacts and provide traction.
According to Nissan, the main issue is the load placed on the spokes closest to the ground. A quick fix would be to make the outer portion of the airless tire firmer, but Nissan says this would lead to a decrease in the contact patch, unable to absorb imperfections and handle lateral forces when steering.
Nissan’s solution is to use multiple flexible spokes that are radially supplied from the outer circumference of the wheel to the inner circumference of the tire. In other words, the tire will have countless flexible spokes between the wheel and tire surface. It is known that Ford has also started developing wheels for airless tires.
With this approach, the load applied to the tire will be transferred to the spokes, meaning the outer tire surface will be less affected by impacts. According to Nissan, this type of tire can be applied to four-wheel vehicles, two-wheel vehicles, industrial vehicles, bicycles, and various other tire-requiring vehicles. Why are many renowned automobile manufacturers suddenly interested in airless tires when today’s tires are already very safe? It may be due to the upcoming Euro 7 emission regulations, which include new, stricter restrictions on both brakes and tires.
High-ranking automotive leaders have criticized these new regulations and have ultimately won. However, no changes have been made to the restrictions on regulating particle emissions from brakes and tires. We are not sure whether airless tires are more environmentally friendly, but there will be some interesting advantages.
Airless tires are puncture-resistant and less prone to damage. If there are fewer damages, it means fewer tires need to be replaced, so from that perspective, airless tires will be more environmentally friendly.