Michelin and General Motors presented a new generation of airless wheel technology for passenger vehicles. It's called the Uptis Prototype (or "Unique Punctureproof Tyre System") - at the Movin'On Summit for sustainable mobility. The joint research agreement will see both the companies validate the Uptis Prototype with the goal of introducing the Uptis on passenger models as early as 2024. Michelin and GM are testing the Uptis Prototype, beginning with vehicles like the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Later this year, the companies will initiate real-world testing of Uptis on a test fleet of Bolt EV vehicles in Michigan.
Michelin has been working at making airless tyres for the past five years now. The company showcased the Tweel concept in 2014 and an investment of $50 million has gone into the new plant for making it ready for commercial usage. The Uptis is a version of this and is airless. It completely eliminates the risk of flat tyres and blowouts.
Florent Menegaux, chief executive officer for Michelin Group said, "Uptis demonstrates that Michelin's vision for a future of sustainable mobility is clearly an achievable dream. Through work with strategic partners like GM, who share our ambitions for transforming mobility, we can seize the future today."
The Uptis Prototype is re-engineered for today's passenger vehicles, and it is also well suited to emerging forms of mobility. The vehicles and fleets of tomorrow - whether autonomous, all electric, shared service or other applications - will demand near-zero maintenance from the tire to maximize their operating capabilities.
The Uptis features a different architecture and composite materials, which enables the tyre to bear the car's weight at road-going speeds. Approximately 200 million tyres worldwide are scrapped prematurely every year as a result of punctures, damage from road hazards or improper air pressure that causes uneven wear. These advancements through the Uptis Prototype demonstrate Michelin's and GM's shared commitment to delivering safer, more sustainable mobility solutions. Of course these tyres will be pricey but we wait to see how these tyres fair on production cars.