Michelin wants to put wood in your tires

It might sound weird, but it could help in a big way.

Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
2 min read
Enlarge Image

Normally, the wood you'd get in a tire would be frustrating, not a sigh of environmental relief.


You might not give them much thought, but tires are an important part of your car. Trouble is, they're not exactly filled with the friendliest materials, which is why Michelin wants to stuff 'em full of wood -- and not in a way that'll have you pulling the spare out of the trunk.

Michelin is investigating the use of wood in its tires, Motoring.com.au reports, citing an interview with Cyrille Roget, Michelin's director of scientific and innovation communications. The wood will be sourced from industry waste, and it could help reduce reliance on something you might not think about with tires -- oil.

According to Roget, approximately 80 percent of the materials in a standard car tire come from the oil industry. Using waste wood to create elastomers (flexible polymers) for tires could be much more sustainable -- in fact, it could allow people all over the world to have local sources for their tire materials, instead of relying on oil producers. It's a lot easier to grow a tree than drill for oil. Rubber will still be a vital component of tires, but Michelin wants that to be more sustainable, too.

Michelin hopes to have a proof-of-concept tire ready by 2020, which isn't very far off. The company is thinking even further down the road than that -- it's also researching 3D-printed tires that could last for the life of a car, being "renewed" via 3D printing whenever the tread gets low. However, Michelin doesn't believe that tech will be ready for another 10 or 15 years, barring any sort of major breakthrough.

Tread on me: The wildest tires and wheels around

See all photos