We naturally expect automotive innovation to come from the big automakers; but with America's Big Three on the ropes--not that they've been recently innovative anyway--it's nice to see a company like Michelin, previously thought of as just a tire maker, taking up the slack. The new Michelin Active Wheel could potentially usher in a new future for vehicle design, where innovation comes from multiple sectors, including "mere" suppliers.
So what is it? Read on:
...The transformation is truly revolutionary--no more engine under the front or rear bonnet, no more traditional suspension system, and no more gearbox or transmission shaft thanks to the Michelin Active Wheel. That's because all essential components have been integrated into the wheel itself. Cars equipped with this integrated solution deliver an array of unique advantages. In a sense, the Michelin Active Wheel is an intelligent wheel capable of propelling cars without gasoline, while ensuring suspension and braking functions and providing unrivalled road handling and comfort.
The Michelin Active Wheel inaugurates a new era in road transportation in which a car's road, safety, energy and environmental performance achieve unprecedented levels. This is because of a miniature drive engine and an electrical suspension system incorporated into the wheel. These technologies developed by Michelin have made it possible to completely rethink the car.