GM wants to take the air out of tyres

Andrew Cummings
June 6, 2019

Society at large benefits from extraordinary environmental savings through reduced use of raw materials for replacement tire or spare tire production.

The prototype is called the Uptis, short for Unique Puncture-proof Tire System, and GM plans to test them on a fleet of Chevrolet Volt EVs, with a view to making them available as early as 2024.

Michelin and General Motors have teamed up to develop a new generation of airless wheel technology, dubbed the Michelin Uptis Prototype, which reportedly eliminates flats and blowouts.

Though the design is now more capable, the Uptis airless tire still uses the same basic idea as the Tweel. It builds on the Vision concept that was introduced at the 2017 summit meeting.

Part of the French manufacturer's VISION concept-a four-pillar strategy for research and development in sustainable mobility-this prototype is a first step in the right direction.

Uptis should also be extremely useful in the area of self-driving vehicles, allowing them to run for extended periods without the threat of flats.

Michelin will test Uptis in the real world with General Motors. "Uptis represents progress toward Michelin's vision for tomorrow's mobility, and also embodies our commitment to a better, sustainable mobility for all".

"Through work with strategic partners like GM, who share our ambitions for transforming mobility, we can seize the future today", added Florent Menegaux, chief executive officer at Michelin.

For more information, check out this first-hand report from Roselynne Reyes, associate editor of our sister publication, Automotive Fleet: "Michelin, GM Show Airless Tire Prototype".

Uptis features ground-breaking improvements in architecture and composite materials, which enable Uptis to bear the car's weight at road-going speeds, said the company.

UPTIS tires also promise to be environmentally friendly as they'll significantly reduce the number of "punctured or damaged tires that are scrapped before reaching the end of their life cycle".

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