The wheel was invented so long ago, that it is pointless to try and examine its evolution through time.
Fact is, the wheel, as used on vehicles, at least, is still evolving, and since the Frankfurt Motor Show is now open, Hankook decided to show us what the next step is.
They are presenting a very interesting and innovative solution: an airless wheel and tire all-in-one. As they say, this will improve vehicle performance in several ways. Fuel efficiency is increased and noise pollution is decreased, but most important, they no longer need pressurized air.
Eliminating the air from the wheel also improves safety, as tire explosions, and flats are now out. The i-Flex is built from polyurethane synthetics and the tire is manufactured in conjunction with the rim as a one-piece. At the Frankfurt IAA, the product is showcased on a Volkswagen up!. According to Hankook, the wheel is also 95 percent recyclable.
I am always excited by new tech, but we will see if this particular one will stick.