Suffering from a punctured tire may soon become a thing of the past. Michelin, along with General Motors (GM), recently presented a new-generation of the 'tweel' airless tire technology. Called the Michelin Uptis (Unique Puncture-proof tire system), GM plans to make use of this airless tire on their passenger vehicles as early as 2024.
“General Motors is excited about the possibilities that Uptis presents, and we are thrilled to collaborate with Michelin on this breakthrough technology. 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,” said Steve Kieff senior vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain at GM.
Later this year, GM will begin real-world testing and validation of the Uptis prototype on a fleet of Chevrolet Bolt EVs.
First made available in 2014 for John Deere vehicles (introduced as a concept way back in 2005), the tweel is Michelin's answer to the future of tire technology. With deformable spokes instead of air filling the tire, the dangers of having a flat or blown-out tire have been eliminated.
Apart from making the tire airless and puncture-proof, Michelin claims that Uptis tires are more environmentally-friendly too. Compared to a typical tire, Uptis lasts longer since they do not get easily damaged, reduces the use of raw materials and energy for production since replacement tires will no longer be needed, and cuts back on tires scrapped each year due to punctures or irregular wear.
With GM being one of the first automotive brands to try out Michelin's airless tire, it may not be long until their other brands like Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC, and Buick switch to the tweel in the future.