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12-07-11

Bridgestone Announces Development of Non-Pneumatic (Airless) Concept Tire

New Environmental Technology for Tires of the Future

TOKYO (Nov. 29, 2011) - Bridgestone Corporation today announced it has developed a non-pneumatic (i.e., airless) concept tire that could prove to be a viable and more environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional tires in the future.

Bridgestone's Environmental Mission Statement outlines the Company's goal to help contribute to a more sustainable society, with particular emphasis on three areas - ecological conservation, resource conservation and reduction of carbon emissions. In support of the Mission, Bridgestone is working on various projects, like the non-pneumatic tire, that will ultimately contribute to a healthier environment for not just current, but also future generations.

Non-pneumatic tires have a lesser impact on the environment than today's conventional tires, but previously such concept tires have been impractical to produce for the mass market. Bridgestone developed this technology with the aim of practical implementation.

Special Features of Non-Pneumatic (Airless) Tire Technology

With a unique structure of spokes stretching along the inner sides of the tires supporting the weight of the vehicle, there is no need to periodically refill the tires with air, meaning that the tires require less maintenance. At the same the worry of punctures is eliminated. In addition, the spoke structure within the tire is made from reusable thermoplastic resin*, and along with the rubber in the tread portion, the materials used in the tires are 100 percent recyclable. As a result, the tires set a new standard in terms of environmental friendliness, safety and comfort.

Bridgestone is pursuing this technological development with the aim of achieving a "cradle to cradle" process that proactively maximizes the cyclical use of resources from worn tires into new tires and the use of recyclable resources.

The non-pneumatic tire will be displayed at the Bridgestone exhibit at the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show 2011**, which begins on November 30.

* A synthetic resin that becomes flexible when heated, can be processed into a variety of shapes, and becomes hard when cooled. The changes from heating and cooling can generally be repeated, making it easy to both mold and recycle the material.

** Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 are press days and Dec. 2 is a special guest day. The event is open to the general public Dec. 3-11.

About Bridgestone Corporation:
Bridgestone Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, is the world's largest tire and rubber company. In addition to tires for use in a wide variety of applications, it also manufactures a broad range of diversified products, which include industrial rubber and chemical products and sporting goods. Its products are sold in over 150 nations and territories around the world.

Type: Environmental