Passenger vehicles will soon be equipped with flat-proof airless tires, thanks to the joint effort of General Motors and French tire company Michelin.
The companies presented MICHELIN Uptis Prototype or “Unique Puncture-proof Tire System, a new generation of airless wheel technology. GM plans to develop the wheel assembly with Michelin and introduce it on passenger vehicles as early as 2024.
The prototype airless tire, called Uptis, was tested on a Chevrolet Bolt EV at the General Motors Milford Proving Ground in Milford. The real-world testing and validation of the Uptis Prototype will be conducted by GM on a Michigan test fleet of Chevrolet Bolt Evs later this year.
The French company has been developing the airless tire concept named tweel for many years.
The tire eliminates dangers related to flats and blowouts that results from driving on crumbling roads and bridges, something Michigan is known for.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, whose win in 2018 was on “Fix The Damn Roads”, responded to the news in a tweet, “We’ve failed to #FTDR for so long that @GM has decided to just fix the damn tires instead!”
According to the companies, Uptis holds significant potential to reduce the use of raw materials and waste, in line with GM’s vision for a world with zero crashes, emissions and congestion.
The new technology is expected to reduce the number of punctured or damaged tires. The tires will last longer by eliminating irregular wear and tear caused by over- or under-inflation. Further, this eliminates the need for spare tires and replacement tires.
That could save 2 million tonnes of waste materials every year, marking a fundamental step towards more sustainable mobility, according to Michelin.
Steve Kiefer, senior vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, General Motors, said Uptis is an ideal fit for propelling the automotive industry into the future.