May 25, 2020

The Future of Tyres? Michelin & GM Reveal the Uptis Prototype

The Michelin Uptis Prototype
The Michelin Uptis Prototype

Michelin and General Motors have presented a new generation of airless wheel technology for passenger vehicles — the Michelin Uptis Prototype (or ‘Unique Puncture-proof Tire System’).

Michelin and GM have also announced a joint research agreement under which the companies intend to validate the Uptis Prototype with the goal of introducing the tyre on passenger models as early as 2024.

Michelin and GM are testing the Uptis, beginning with vehicles like the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Later this year, the companies say they will initiate real-world testing of the tyre on a fleet of Bolt EV vehicles in Michigan in the U.S.

The companies say the Uptis features ground-breaking improvements in architecture and composite materials, which enable the tyre to bear a car’s weight at road-going speeds.

These innovations combine to eliminate compressed air to support the vehicle’s load, and will result in massive environmental savings: approximately 200 million tyres worldwide are scrapped prematurely every year as a result of punctures, damage from road hazards or improper air pressure that causes uneven wear Michelin says.

Michelin adds that the airless technology reduces the need for regular preventative maintenance checks for air pressure, damage inspections and rotations for even tyre wear. Further advantages include the elimination of flat tyres or blowouts and the minimisation of downtime for operators of passenger vehicle fleets.

“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.”

“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.”