Michelin and General Motors presented a new generation of airless wheel technology, the MICHELIN Uptis Prototype at the Movin’On Summit for sustainable mobility today. GM intends to develop this airless wheel assembly with Michelin and aims to introduce it on passenger vehicles as early as 2024.
Uptis stands for (or “Unique Puncture-proof Tire System”) and later this year, GM will begin real-world testing and validation of the Uptis Prototype on a Michigan test fleet of Chevrolet Bolt EVs. This will begin later this year using a fleet of 2019 Chevy Bolt EV's and then potentially enter production in 2024 for passenger vehicles including a new generation of sustainable mobility vehicles as well as personal cars.
We got a chance to touch and feel the prototype onsite at the MovinOn Summit in Montreal this week and it's definitely real. While we haven't seen it in motion except on video this tire has the potential to realize the goal that Michelin put forth two years ago - Connected, Renewable and Bio-Sourced Materials, 3D-Printed, and Airless.
While tires might not seem like a huge part of the sustainable future, it's actually one of the most important. While EV power plants and Autonomous Driving are sexy - tires connect the vehicle to the road. Uptis though actually has a lot going for it beyond simply being more green ...
Less material used means less material discarded (20% of tires are scrapped each year due to punctures or irregular wear).
Proper tire "pressure" results in better fuel economy.
Drivers feel more safe and secure knowing they won't risk the danger or damage from flat tires.
Reduced maintenance including pressure checks and inspections for damage.
“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.”
Airless technology makes the Uptis Prototype eliminate flats and blowouts. This means Uptis offers significant potential for reducing the use of raw materials and waste, contributing to GM’s vision for a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion as it:
- Reduces the number of punctured or damaged tires that are scrapped before reaching the end of their life cycle.
- Reduces 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.
- Lasts longer by eliminating irregular wear and tear caused by over- or under-inflation.
- Reduces dangers related to flats and blowouts.
More information on the MICHELIN Uptis Prototype can be found here.