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Airless Tires, the Tweel new from Michelin

The Tweel offers a number of benefits beyond being impervious to nails in the road. The tread will last two to three times as long as current radial tires, Michelin says, and when it does wear thin, it can be retreaded. The tire maker has high expectations for the Tweel. The concept of a single-piece tire and wheel assembly is one that the company expects to spread to passenger cars and construction equipment and aircraft. The Tweel is in its infancy - "version 1.0," Thompson said, and only one set of car Tweels exists. A test drive in a Tweel-equipped Audi A4 sedan on roads around Michelin's research center proved to be far less exotic than the construction method or appearance would suggest. The prototype Tweels are noisy, as Thompson warned they would be, because the spokes vibrate.