By Patrick Raleigh ERJ On-line news editor
Paris-French tyre maker Groupe Michelin is to debut a polyurethane inner support ring on its PAX runflat system. The initial application is for a fitment on the Touring version of the 2005 Honda Odyssey minivan.
Dow Chemical Co. has been developing the reaction injection moulded support ring at its Freeport, Texas, site for the last three years. The PU product is intended to support a completely flat tyre on a car driven at up to 88 km/hr (55 mph) for 200km (125 miles).
The new PAX support ring is significantly lighter and stronger than earlier rubber versions, said Pedro Costa, vice president of Michelin's extended mobility operations. He supplied data showing how a typical 1.9kg PU support was 0.4 kg lighter than previous rubber models, while offering 17-percent more load bearing capacity.
Honda expects annual sales of the PAX-fitted Odyssey minivan to reach around 25 000 units, according to the Michelin executive.