Michelin and GM are jointly testing a unique airless tire badged Uptis (Unique Punctureproof Tire System), with the goal of introducing the tire on passenger car vehicles as early as 2024. A prototype will first be tested on the Chevrolet Bolt EV on a fleet of vehicles in Michigan.
The Uptis was presented as the latest facet to Michelin’s Vision initiative at this year’s Movin’On Summit in Montreal, Canada. Vision focuses on four main pillars of innovation – airless tires, connected tires, 3D printing and sustainablility through the adoption of renewable or bio-sourced materials.
Uptis features new technologies in tire architectures and composite materials, which enable the tire to bear the car’s weight at high speeds.
As Uptis is airless, the breakthrough wheel assembly eliminates the risk of flat tires and blowouts. As such, operators of vehicle fleets will be able to minimize downtime and improve efficiency, thanks to the reduction in maintenance. Raw material useage can also be reduced indirectly through the reduction in replacement and spare tire production.
“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,” commented Florent Menegaux, chief executive officer at Michelin Group.
Steve Kiefer, senior vice president, global purchasing and supply chain, General Motors, said, “General Motors is excited about the possibilities that Uptis presents, and we are thrilled to collaborate with Michelin on this breakthrough technology.
“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.”
Eric Vinesse, executive vice president, research and development for Michelin, who revealed Uptis at the Movin’On Summit, said, “The Uptis Prototype demonstrates Michelin’s capacity for innovation — in both the mastery of these high-tech materials, and also the development approach in close collaboration with GM, which validates our Vision concept as a roadmap for innovation. Uptis represents progress toward Michelin’s vision for tomorrow’s mobility, and also embodies our commitment to a better, sustainable mobility for all.”