Michelin to open Tweel factory this week
We’ve heard surprisingly little about Michelin’s Tweel in the decade since the airless tyre and wheel combination debuted at the Paris Motor Show 2004. After eight further years of development, the Tweel made its commercial debut in 2012, and Michelin recently announced the first original equipment Tweel deal, with John Deere. But while the Tweel has maintained a low profile, Michelin clearly has confidence in the product’s future, and on 20 November is opening a plant in the US that will be dedicated to Tweel productio. According to several news reports, the factory is located in a converted 135,000 square foot (12,500 square metre) former textile warehouse. The tyre maker hasn’t yet disclosed how much it has invested in the new Tweel facility in Piedmont, South Carolina, or the plant’s production capacity.
Little has been said about the Tweel products the Piedmont factory will manufacture, either. While we expect the factory will turn out the earthmover and agricultural Tweel models already on sale in the North American market, one publication suggests that BMW may be interested in adopting the technology for its vehicles. Torque News admittedly says it is only speculating, however it wrote on 14 November that it can foresee a “brave” vehicle manufacturer adopting the Tweel – and notes the proximity of Piedmont to BMW’s Spartanburg factory, where X-series vehicles are made.