Michelin and General Motors present a new generation of airless wheel technology for passenger vehicles, the MICHELIN Uptis Prototype (or "Unique Punctureproof Tire System"). For more information see the IDTechEx report on 3D Printing Materials 2019-2029: Technology and Market Analysis.
Michelin and GM also announced a joint research agreement under which the companies intend to validate the Uptis Prototype with the goal of introducing Uptis on passenger models as early as 2024.
Michelin and GM are testing the Uptis Prototype, beginning with vehicles like the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Later this year, the companies will initiate real-world testing of Uptis on a test fleet of Bolt EV vehicles in Michigan.
Because Uptis is airless, the breakthrough wheel assembly eliminates the dangerous risk of flat tires and blowouts:
- Drivers of passenger vehicles feel safer on the road.
- Operators of passenger vehicle fleets minimize downtime and improve efficiency resulting from flat tires and near-zero levels of maintenance.
- Society at large benefits from extraordinary environmental savings through reduced use of raw materials for replacement tire or spare tire production.
The Uptis Prototype represents a major advancement toward achieving Michelin's VISION concept, which was presented in 2017 as an illustration of Michelin's strategy for research and development in sustainable mobility. The VISION concept introduced four main pillars of innovation: airless, connected, 3D-printed and 100% sustainable (entirely renewable or bio-sourced materials).
The Uptis Prototype is re-engineered for today's passenger vehicles, and it is also well suited to emerging forms of mobility. The vehicles and fleets of tomorrow — whether autonomous, all-electric, shared service or other applications — will demand near-zero maintenance from the tire to maximize their operating capabilities.
Uptis features ground-breaking improvements in architecture and composite materials, which enable Uptis to bear the car's weight at road-going speeds.
These innovations combine to eliminate compressed air to support the vehicle's load, and result in extroardinary environmental savings: approximately 200 million tires worldwide are scrapped prematurely every year as a result of punctures, damage from road hazards or improper air pressure that causes uneven wear.
These advancements through the Uptis Prototype demonstrate Michelin's and GM's shared commitment to delivering safer, more sustainable mobility solutions.
Source and top image: Michelin