Michelin Introduces Airless Tires, called UPTIS

General Motors will test these Tires on their famous EV, Chevrolet Bolt.


Michelin has created a prototype of airless tires and requested General Motors to test them on their famous EV, Chevrolet Bolt. Named Unique Puncture-proof Tire System (UPTIS), it will be ready for passenger vehicles in the next five years. Both Michelin and General Motors will research on this project to make it a reality.

Airless tire technology is not new. Michelin is already producing them for commercial vehicles. Some other manufacturers, too, have created tweels (another name for airless tires) for different purposes. UPTIS is a major step toward Michelin’s VISION concept, which revolves around four main pillars: airless, connected, 3D-printed and 100% sustainable.

“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.”

As the name suggests, the airless tires do not need air to flat the tire tread. It just has a tire tread enveloped around a resin spoke. When it hits a bump, it compresses to absorb impacts. It does not flat, and it does not blow out. It uses less raw material, thus is more environment-friendly. These tires also go through less wear and tear because there is no air inside that could cause uneven deterioration.

(Photo by Steve Fecht for General Motors)

Furthermore, the introduction of airless tires would eliminate the need for spare tires in vehicles. While most new cars do not come with a spare tire, the new technology can eliminate the need for spare tires altogether, thus we could get more space in the trunk for luggage.

The only downside to this technology is that it will be expensive for users. However, this would change soon if other tire manufacturers join the bandwagon. The more scalable the technology would be, the higher are the chances of their adoption.

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