At the 2019 Movin’On Summit in Montreal, Michelin and General Motors revealed a new airless tire prototype which they say will potentially go into production in 2024. Called the Michelin Uptis, for “Unique Puncture-proof Tire System,” the new tire builds on the company’s all-in-one Tweel, and its 3D-printed Vision concept tire.
Its mix of composite rubber and resin embedded fiberglass lets it operate at highway speeds and while is not as visually appealing as conventional tires, Michelin claims it’s just as comfortable.
These innovations combine to eliminate compressed air to support the vehicle’s load, and result in extroardinary environmental savings: approximately 200 million tires worldwide are scrapped prematurely every year as a result of punctures, damage from road hazards or improper air pressure that causes uneven wear.
Michelin see this as particularly important for a future dominated by electric and self-driving cars. The airless tires reduces the need for environmentally harmful tire production, and eliminates the need for a spare tire that adds weight and shrinks fuel economy.
This tire would be also particularly useful for self-driving vehicles, helping them run around the clock without additional tire maintenance.
“Uptis demonstrates that Michelin’s vision for a future of sustainable mobility is clearly an achievable dream,” said Florent Menegaux, chief executive officer for Michelin Group. “Through work with strategic partners like GM, who share our ambitions for transforming mobility, we can seize the future today.”
Under this partnership, Michelin and GM will test the tire under real-world conditions at its facility in Michigan, using a fleet of Chevrolet Bolt electric cars.