Airless tires, powered by NASA, ready for electric scooters (and soon cars)
SMART Tire Company presented indestructible tires (Airless tires) at CES 2023 that practically mean the reinvention of the wheel.
The world was never the same again when the wheel was invented. However, that does not mean that what was a revolutionary idea is perfect.
Currently, it is the component that has evolved the most technologically, it continues to be a source of some problems that science tries to remedy.
Smart Tire Company (STC) has presented new tires called METL that it describes as “practically indestructible” and which are already being prepared for sale.
The most required problem with current tires is punctures, although it is not the only one.
Even the most modern systems, such as Runflat, which prevent them, do not prevent wear, another of the important drawbacks.
More taking into account that the resulting particles are polluting and highly harmful.
In addition, the production and recycling of its components are also activities that harm the environment.
STC has been presented at CES 2023 to solve all these problems. ‘SMART‘ gives an idea of its intentions.
Because it’s an acronym for ‘Shape Memory Alloy Radial Technology‘.
That is a technique developed by NASA and has already been used on the wheels of the Lunar Rover. STC has created METLs in collaboration with the NASA Glenn Research Center.
The heart of the METL
The company explains that METL stands for Martensite Elasticized Tubular Loading.
This material is one of the hardest phases or constituents of ferrous alloys. Tires (Airless tires) built with it promise to achieve the same resistance as the metal tires used by NASA vehicles.
Unlike rubber tires, which use pressurized air, memory alloy tires are not affected by punctures.
In addition, they are capable of recovering their original shape after being deformed, being able to absorb irregularities without deflating.
Although they use this memory metal for structural strength, they also feature a rubber tread to ensure grip.
While this is still prone to wear, reapplying a new one is less expensive and less polluting than producing a new set of tires, the company explains.
Ready for commercialization
STC has already managed to significantly reduce the cost of materials and is now making final adjustments to bring this product to market.
The latest version has been presented at CES 2023 in Las Vegas and has been awarded two innovation awards in the Vehicle Tech & Advanced Mobility category and the Sustainability, Eco-Design & Smart Energy category.
Its tires, for which there is already a waiting list, should start selling for around $100 or $150.
Although STC’s first tires (Airless tires) are designed for bicycles, the company has other ambitions.
The next target is electric scooters, although its real purpose is to tackle, as soon as possible, the lucrative business of electric car tires.
SMART Tire Company (Airless tires) says that it is in the automotive industry where new technology will make the biggest difference.
Flat tires are still common today. Loss of pressure or inadequate inflation reduces range and increases pollution.
STC wants its tires to become a practically permanent component of vehicles, along with others that do not require regular maintenance.