More Mobility Concepts – Direct Wheel Replacement

Following on from our recent discussion vehicle mobility this is a video mini-series looking at how vehicle designers approach the need for mobility. The need for extreme mobility in adverse conditions has delivered some extremely interesting solutions that go beyond the traditional wheels v tracks debate.

It is generally accepted that for serious mobility, especially where low surface compaction or high tractive force is needed, tracks are superior to wheels. Another generally accepted fact is that tracks have higher running costs, create more vibration, are noisier and have higher fuel consumption.

Various FRES studies seemed to draw the same conclusions and there are some interesting (although quite old) research papers on the web;$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/eng8171

But, there are a number of technologies and designs that have and are chipping away at these assumptions, wheels and track technology does not stand still.

We all know about the Supacat ATMP and BAE BVs10 Viking but these are the more unusual and mostly civilian solutions.

If these don’t wet your appetite then head over to Unusual Locomotion

Direct Wheel Replacement

4orce Mobility






Soucy Tracks


J Wheels


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Gordon Dundas
Gordon Dundas
February 16, 2012 4:57 pm

A few year back I discussed Mattracks with the Manitoba Hydro’s head mechanic .He wasn’t all that impressed with them.Increased maintenance costs ,increased fuel costs didn’t make up for what he described as a marginal increase in off road capability.

A Different Gareth
A Different Gareth
February 16, 2012 7:44 pm

I quite like the j-wheelz. You get extra traction only when you need it.

Is there room on MRAPs for twin wheels, with the twin being inside the present one? Make it a smaller tyre and it would achieve a similar effect to the j-wheelz – when you are on roads you are only using the outside tyre and when on soft ground you have both. If the difference in size were small enough you could possibly engage the smaller tyre at will by reducing the air pressure of the outside tyres.

For reliability reasons you could make the smaller one a non-pneumatic tyre, if the technology pans out, then you wouldn’t need to carry two different sized spare.

February 16, 2012 9:07 pm

Re: J-Wheelz
If I was to bet on one technology from all these lovely video clips, I would pick these. A reasonable upgrade of performance, plus simple and tough, for next to nothing.
And I like the MRAP application.