Michelin and General Motors presented a new generation of airless wheel and tire technology for passenger vehicles-the MICHELIN Uptis prototype (Unique Puncture-proof Tire System)-at the Movin’On Summit for sustainable mobility.
The companies also announced a joint research agreement under which they intend to validate the prototype, with the goal of introducing Uptis on passenger models as early as 2024, according to a press release.
Later this year, Michelin and GM will initiate real-world testing of Uptis on a fleet of Chevrolet Bolt EVs in Michigan, the release noted.
“The Uptis prototype demonstrates Michelin’s capacity for innovation-in both the mastery of these high-tech materials, and also the development approach in close collaboration with GM, which validates our Vision concept as a roadmap for innovation,” said Eric Vinesse, executive vice president, research and development, Group Michelin, who revealed Uptis at the Movin’On Summit. “Uptis represents progress toward Michelin’s vision for tomorrow’s mobility, and also embodies our commitment to a better, sustainable mobility for all.”
The Uptis Prototype represents a major advancement toward achieving Michelin’s Vision concept, which was presented at the Movin’On Summit in 2017 as an illustration of the company’s strategy for research and development in sustainable mobility.
The Vision concept introduced four main pillars of innovation: airless, connected, 3D-printed and 100-percent sustainable (entirely renewable or bio-sourced materials).
“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.”
Because Uptis is airless, the 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 no flat tires and near-zero levels of maintenance
- Society at large benefits from environmental savings through reduced use of raw materials for replacement tire or spare tire production