While the K-pressure Optic is mechanical, in the near future Pirelli will also offer the K-Pressure Acoustic and AcousticBlue. The former is capable of communicating with a vehicle's onboard electronic management system while the 'Blue version uses Bluetooth-enabled cell phones to relay its data. This is done with a microprocessor inside the K-Pressure, powered by a battery with a 5,000-hour service life. That may not sound like a long time, but since they go idle when the vehicle isn't driven, it translates into many years of use.
Why not just check the tire pressure with a gauge every now and then? Well, other than for trail use, most of us rarely do. Wouldn't it be convenient to just peek at four K-Pressures instead of actually taking a gauge to each tire? Yes, it sure would save some wear and tear on the knees, and time. Plus, every time you use a tire gauge, you also let a little air out and disturb the valve core, which in itself can start a leak. That's one reason truckers favor clubs over gauges.
So what are the drawbacks? As far as we can tell, there are only three potential reasons not to use K-Pressure Optic tire monitors. If you use them on a trail-driven vehicle, you'll probably get tired of the theft-resistant feature pretty quickly (a special included tool is needed to remove them), so they're better off being on something you don't normally air down. Also, since the K-pressure is about twice as long as a regular cap, it can end up outside the rim, or even the tire, on some wheels. Similarly, a rubber valve stem by itself does bend from centrifugal force at speed if it's at an outward angle on the rim, and adding the weight of the K-Pressure doesn't help. The latter two can be circumvented by using metal valve stems, angled or straight as needed. However, the K-Pressure is approved by the very strict TUV (the German version of DOT) on rubber valve stems too.
Selling for about $60 a set, a cost that Pirelli feels will be paid back within a year on fuel savings and tire wear alone, the K-pressure can be a good investment for the daily driver and the tow vehicle.