Michelin, GM introduce airless tires
Michelin and General Motors introduced the Michelin Uptis (Unique Puncture-proof Tire System) prototype wheel technology for passenger vehicles at the Movin'On Summit for sustainable mobility. The companies also announced a joint research agreement under which they intend to validate the Uptis prototype with the goal of introducing 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 say they will initiate real-world testing of Uptis on a test fleet of Bolt EV vehicles in Michigan.
Because Uptis is airless, the wheel assembly is meant to eliminate the risk of flat tires and blowouts. In addition, it is intended to reduce the number of punctured or damaged tires that are scrapped before reaching the end of their life cycle; reduce the use of raw materials, energy for production, and emissions linked to the manufacture of spare tires and replacement tires that are no longer required; and last longer by eliminating irregular wear and tear caused by over- or under-inflation.
"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."
"General Motors is excited about the possibilities that Uptis presents, and we are thrilled to collaborate with Michelin on this breakthrough technology," said Steve Kiefer, senior Vice President, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, General Motors. "Uptis is an ideal fit for propelling the automotive industry into the future and a great example of how our customers benefit when we collaborate and innovate with our supplier partners."
Uptis features architecture and composite materials that are intended to enable it to bear the car's weight at road-going speeds. They combine to eliminate compressed air to support the vehicle's load, and result in environmental savings that are, according to the companies, approximately 200 million prematurely scrapped tires worldwide each year as a result of punctures, damage from road hazards, or improper air pressure that causes uneven wear.