FRANKFURT, Germany—Michelin and Maxion Wheels developed a car wheel they claim can improve ride and comfort by absorbing impacts from potholes. Key to the product's success is the incorporation of flexible rubber flanges.
The partners debuted the product at Frankfurt Motor Show.
The wheel, dubbed Michelin Acorus, is compatible with all tires on the market, Maxion said. It comprises an alloy rim that is narrower than normal, two rubber flanges and an optional cosmetic insert to protect the alloy wheel.
The name Acorus is taken from Acorus Calamus, a wetland plant that looks like a reed and which is featured in a French fable "the oak and the reed" with the wisdom that "a reed bends but does not break."
In tests with a 285/30R21 tire driven through a pothole, the standard rim version punctured the tire at 17 mph, whereas an Acorus flexible wheel with did not puncture or sustain damage at any speed, the development partners said.
Florent Menegaux, Michelin's chief operating officer, pointed out that the new design is particularly useful today as the vehicle industry specs larger and larger wheels on their cars.