Michelin wants to change the world with the Uptis (Unique Puncture-proof Tire System) prototype. A tire that is so unique with its airless design that they may just do it.
The Uptis promises to forever eliminate the need to ever change a flat tire. It is completely impervious to flats and blowouts. This obviously makes for a safer tire but it goes much farther than that.
The airless Uptis means that air pressure does not need to be constantly monitored to create even wear. This means it should last longer with less maintenance.
Michelin estimates 200 million tires are scrapped every year due to punctures, damage and uneven wear. That means 2 million tons of material is discarded on an annual basis. When the Uptis does eventually wear out, it can be retreaded so only a small portion of the tire is scraped. The replaced portion may even someday be 3D-printed in your local tire shop.
The Michelin Uptis represents a major step toward achieving their innovative VISION concept of having airless, connected, 3D-printed and 100% sustainable tires.
“Uptis demonstrates that Michelin’s vision for a future of sustainable mobility is clearly an achievable dream,” said Florent Menegaux, chief executive officer for Michelin Group. “Through work with strategic partners like GM, who share our ambitions for transforming mobility, we can seize the future today.”
Over 15 years ago, Michelin introduced the Tweel, an airless tire for commercial applications. The Uptis creates the first version designed for highway speeds.
Michelin & GM Partnership
This summer, Michelin and GM will begin testing the Uptis on the Chevy Bolt. The factory version of the tire should be an option as early as 2024.
The choice of the Bolt as the first vehicle to use the Uptis intrigues me. Both are working towards solutions for the future but I know how much tires can affect the efficiency and range an EV’s.
When I asked, Cyrille Roget, Technical & Scientific Communication Director for Michelin states that “This tire is expected to have the same rolling resistance as a run-flat tire.”
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With EV’s the tire design greatly affects range and efficiency. Cyrille Roget, Technical & Scientific Communication Director for @michelin says that they are shooting for their airless tire to have the same rolling resistance as a runflat tire by the time it launches in 2024 on the @chevy Bolt. I will be very curious how this technology will end up affecting the range of the Bolt. #movinonconnect #michelin #tires #lowrollingresistance #airlesstires #ecofriendly #ev #electricvehicle #electric #innovation #innovative #cars
An air-filled tire and wheel typically weigh around 46 lbs and a run-flat tire weighs about 51 lbs. The Uptis design weighs 49.6 lbs. Michelin expects overall vehicle weight with the Uptis to remain similar to traditional air tires given that the spare tire, jack and tire pressure monitoring systems TPMS) can also be eliminated.
This tire seems to have lots of promise to reinvent the tire for the generations to come. I am excited to see how it drives.
Disclosure: Michelin invited me to the Movin’ On Summit in Montreal, Canada where the Uptis was unveiled. Travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own.