At the “Movin’On” sustainable mobility summit, Michelin and General Motors presented a prototype of an airless tyre for passenger vehicles. A concept named Uptis which will be available for everyone in 2024.
Airless tyres for everyone within 5 years
While Michelin inaugurated its third “Movin’On” sustainable mobility world summit at Montreal, the French tyre manufacturer chose the event to unveil its airless tyre project. Called Uptis for Unique Puncture-proof Tyre System, this prototype developed in partnership with General Motors should be available for all passenger vehicles in 2024. Tests on vehicles such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV are already underway.
Since it is airless, Uptis is a wheel-puncture proof tyre assembly. With this project, Michelin aims to reduce the waste of raw materials while supporting tomorrow’s mobility. According to the tyre manufacturer’s estimations, around 200 million tyres could be saved by preventing punctures, damage caused by road hazards or uneven wear due to an incorrect inflation pressure.
From Vision to Uptis
Two years ago, Michelin presented its “Vision” of tyres in the future. Its concept of the same name was already an airless, connected and durable tyre, whose tread could be recharged using 3D printing. The development of Uptis and its expected launch in 2024 is another step for the French tyre manufacturer who puts the Movin’On slogan into practice: “From ambition to action”.
For Florent Menegaux, new chief executive officer for Michelin group, it is a new proof of the tyre manufacturer’s action for tomorrow’s mobility. “Uptis demonstrates that Michelin’s vision for a future of sustainable mobility is clearly an achievable dream,” he said during the Movin’On summit. “Through work with strategic partners like GM, who share our ambitions for transforming mobility, we can seize the future today”.
Breakthrough technology focus
If Uptis seems familiar, it is because Michelin has already commercialised this type of airless tyre for certain types of all terrain utility vehicles. Although Tweel shares design aspects such as the tyre/wheel assembly, spokes which can withstand the load and a flexible outer ring, Uptis is a real technological breakthrough according to the tyre manufacturer. The improvements for this project are revolutionary say Michelin, for both its architecture and the composite materials used.
“The Uptis Prototype demonstrates Michelin’s capacity for innovation, in both the mastery of these high-tech materials, and also the development approach”, said Eric Vinesse, Research and Development Director for Michelin Group. Indeed, current Tweel technologies allow it to bear the vehicle’s weight, but only at a very low speed. Uptis allows this, but at the road going-speed of all passenger cars.