Remember those cool non-pneumatic tires that we saw first on Humvees, then ATVs? We'd wondered if the unique tires, which are not prone to punctures and accidental deflation, had any commercial potential beyond military and recreational vehicles. I figured it'd just be a matter of time before I saw some yahoo driving around with them on his Tahoe, especially after Michelin released photos of their NP tire design, called the Tweel. If Michelin was getting into the game, surely a partnership with a major automaker couldn't be far behind?
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Late last year, automotive blog Torque News speculated that BMW might be adding Tweels to their future SUVs. It made for an exciting headline, but closer inspection revealed the rumor to be based on just one thing: The fact that Michelin's Tweel factory was located 40 miles away from BMW's South Carolina factory. In other words, the rumor was thinner than the spokes on the Tweel.
Well, turns out Michelin has partnered up with a vehicle manufacturer…but it's not the one we expected: It's John Deere.
I love how they laid action-movie music over the video, as if to make us forget that we're looking at groundskeeping.
In any case, you can shortly expect to see Michelin's X Tweel Turf on a massive lawn near you, provided the groundskeepers are rocking John Deere's ZTrak Z900 Series. The Tweels ain't cheap—they're a $750 upgrade, and the Z900s are aimed at fleet owners, not homeowners—but John Deere reckons buyers will make the money back by eliminating flats, downtime and replacement tires; the Tweels are expected to last three times as long as a pneumatic tire.
"YEAH, curb, whatchu know about THAT!"