Michelin: PAX run-flat systemMichelin's PAX run-flat wheel-tire system started life in 1995, but this year the concept has moved much closer to production as a replacement standard for the radial tire.
In June, Goodyear signed up for licenses to the system, and together with Michelin and Pirelli presented the concept at the Paris auto show in September.
Eight concept cars in Paris were fitted with the new system, including vehicles from Peugeot, Renault, Lancia and Pininfarina. The first European production models offering PAX as an option will be a niche model from Audi and a mid-market offering from Renault, both expected in 2001.
Michelin executives say run-flat concepts based on strengthened sidewalls have not won the confidence of carmakers. But Michelin claims they are supported by consumers, who demand more safety and are increasingly reluctant to change tires.
Three years ago a four-tire PAX wheel-tire system weighed as much as seven conventional wheel-tire combinations. Now it is down to the equivalent of 4.5 or 4.6 conventional wheel/tire combinations thanks in part to a polyurethane support developed by Michelin with Dow Chemical.
PAX can also incorporate active safety features such as pressure warning systems to detect slow leaks as well as sudden blowouts. For specialist applications such as trucks, active pressure management can also be incorporated into the basic system.