No more, “I’ve got a flat”.
Michelin and General Motors presented a new generation of airless wheel technology for passenger vehicles that will make flat tires a thing of the past. It was presented at the Movin’On Summit for sustainable mobility on Tuesday, June 4 in Montreal. It’s called the Uptis Prototype and would help save 200 million tires from being scrapped every year, according to Michelin. Uptis stands for “Unique Puncture-proof Tire System,” according to a news release from GM.
That’s a high number of tyres to replace.
The company developed the new tire at the company’s research campus in Greenville. The tire company “Michelin” is working with General Motors to test the prototype in vehicles like the Chevrolet Bolt EV with the goal to introduce the Uptis on passenger models as early as 2024.
The companies will initiate “real-world testing and validation” of Uptis on a test fleet of Chevy Bolt EV vehicles in Michigan later this year.
“General Motors is excited about the possibilities that Uptis presents, and we are thrilled to collaborate with Michelin on this breakthrough technology,” Steve Kiefer, senior vice president of global purchasing and supply chain, said in a release.
Michelin already shared to public the Tweel concept in 2014 and an investment of $50 million has gone into the new plant for making it ready for commercial usage ad has been working for 5 years now. The Uptis which completely eliminates the risk of flat tyres and blowouts is a version of this and is airless.
The Tweel (a portmanteau of tire and wheel) is an airless tire design which does not use a bladder full of compressed air, and therefore cannot burst, leak pressure, or become flat.
Florent Menegaux, chief executive officer for Michelin Group in a news release 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.”
All the vehicles and fleets of tomorrow whether autonomous or electric will demand near-zero maintenance from the tire to maximize their operating capabilities and Uptis will be their solution to this query.
What is yet to be revealed is the cost of the tire system, and which type of vehicles it will function with. Michelin further gave a statement that these airless tires won’t feel any different to our current, very air-filled ones. We may have to wait a while before consumer-level costs become clear and much more affordable.