Reinventing the wheel is a phrase used to describe the creation of something that’s already well established and perfectly suited to its job, but that’s what tyre maker Hankook believes should be and has, done. It’s removed the alloy rims, dumped the traditional tyre tread and air filled innards and replaced it all with a tyre/wheel combination that’s 95 per cent recyclable.
As Wired points out, this type of design was initially trialled by Bridgestone a couple of years ago, but Hankook has taken it to a new level. It’s ditched the entire concept of the wheel portion of the car and simply created a giant tyre which will take on its role.
Known as the I-Flex, it uses an array of geometric cells, that help cushion the impact of the road (thereby acting as a basic suspension) by dissipating impacts through its structure. Weight is reduced due to the lack of a metallic wheel, thereby improving fuel consumption and its lack of air, means you can’t get a flat and don’t need to regularly top up the internal air pressure. Hankook is also claiming that this wheel type also runs quieter than traditional tyres.
However for now this is just a concept and Hankook hasn’t given us a time frame of when it will be released, though presumably it will at some point, since it could open up a whole new line of business for the company.
KitGuru Says: The question at this point is: would you put these on your car? I would, in a second. They look bad ass if you ask me.
Probably would be wary the first time I took the car out with them on though.