Airless tires could become a commodity in less than three years, assured Michelin and General Motors. The joint venture between the two automotive giants has resulted in ‘UPTiS’ tires.
No more getting stranded due to a puncture, or worrying about inadequate tire pressure, are just some of the benefits that the “Unique Puncture-proof Tire System”, or UPTiS. Regular passenger cars could have these tires as early as 2024.
Michelin and General Motors presented ‘UPTiS’ a new generation of airless wheel technology at Movin’On Summit for sustainable mobility:
There’s a new generation of airless wheel technology. It does not need air, which instantly eliminates the need for a refill or punctures. The Michelin UPTiS (Unique Puncture-proof Tire System) is a prototype of tires for passenger vehicles.
The duo announced the UPTiS tires at the Movin’On Summit for sustainable mobility. Speaking about the airless tires, 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.”
Airless tire technology isn’t new but commercial availability for passenger vehicles isn’t yet possible:
Tubeless tires already drive most of the passenger vehicles today. These were once revolutionary, but are commonly available today.
Airless tire technology is anything but new. For several decades automotive engineers and mobility solution creators have dreamt of wheels that do not need a refill.
MICHELIN #UPTIS prototype: the technology that will eliminate the risk of flats and reduce environmental impact! It was fitted on #Emini during the Munich @IAAmobility for test-driving on road! @MrJWW & @gercollector_ give their impressions! More on UPTIS: https://t.co/ajjopTgZdS pic.twitter.com/fmKCCq58th
— Michelin (@Michelin) September 30, 2021
Inappropriate tire pressure is quite troublesome and can be fatal. Tires with low air pressure increase friction and lead to poor mileage. Excessive tire pressure can reduce friction, leading to skidding. Overinflated tires can also burst, putting lives at risk.
As passenger cars far outnumber commercial vehicles, at least in certain countries, there’s a dire need for airless tires. The UPTiS system could be the first commercial airless tire system for passenger vehicles.
— Michelin UK (@MichelinTyres) October 4, 2021
There are several promised benefits of the UPTiS. Some of them, according to GM and Michelin, are:
- Reduces the number of punctured or damaged tires that [owners have to] scrap 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.
- Lasts longer by eliminating irregular wear and tear caused by over-or under-inflation.
- Reduces dangers related to flats and blowouts.
Although promising, 2024 is still about three years away. That’s a lot of time to wait for a solution the world needs right now. It is quite possible that some other company could deploy a similar product sooner.