While recycled backpacks prove that car parts can be sustainable, the same can’t be said about tires. That is, until Michelin stepped in. The renowned automotive manufacturer has come out with a 3D printed clean tire that uses no air and is biodegradable.
The new Michelin VISION concept is a 3D-printed, airless, wheel-tire combination composed of organic, biodegradable materials, including orange zest, bamboo, molasses, wood, and natural rubber.
The eco-friendly tire eliminates the use of petroleum, which is hazardous when decomposing. Standard tires consume up to 38 liters of petroleum. VISION tires, because of their sustainable material, don’t need replacing.
It can be “recharged” as often as necessary with a new layer of treads; the 3D-printed treads can be tweaked to adapt to weather and road conditions.
Sensor chips will also allow mechanics to review information regarding usage of each tire. But like all new technologies, VISION requires less human intervention due to its 3D-printed nature. Will this mean a massive drop in employment? Michelin certainly hopes not — and anyway, they have nearly a decade to think about it, as VISION is not yet consumer-ready.