Taking the air out of someone is generally seen as a bad move, but when it comes to tires, there are some very real benefits. Michelin has been researching what it would take to bring a pressure-free tire to market for years and now, in partnership with General Motors, the company is saying we might see these Uptis tires on the road as soon as 2024. The two companies announced the product today at the Movin'On Summit for sustainable mobility.
A more reality-based evolution of the company's fanciful , Uptis takes the Tweel airless tire that's already available on commercial vehicles and applies it to a consumer use. Instead of relying on air pressure, the internal composite structure of the Uptis provides all the support the tread needs. (Uptis, by the way, stands for "Unique Puncture-proof Tire System.")
Why is this a benefit? No blow-outs, for one thing. Michelin says that this, plus the reduction in abnormal wear thanks to improperly inflated tires, could provide a major reduction in the 200 million tires scrapped every year prematurely due to damage. Sustainable tires? It's a good first step.
"But what about performance?" I hear you asking, and that remains to be seen. The first test application for the Uptis will be the
If all goes according to plan, Michelin and GM hope to have these tires on the road for "select GM models" in the next five years, with other manufacturers hopefully coming on board after that. Compact spare tire, your days are now officially numbered.