Michelin unveils its airless Uptis tyre on a Mini

GM was a partner in the tyre's development and plans to offer them as an option as early as 2024

Michelin unveils its airless Uptis tyre on a Mini

Airless tyres have been used on industrial gear such as forklifts and other devices for a long time. Until now, however, such tyres were not accessible for passenger automobiles. Michelin is demonstrating a revolutionary airless tyre that relies on rubber “c” forms beneath the tread in the area where air would ordinarily assist in tyre pressure maintenance. Anyone who has ever experienced a flat tyre understands the advantages of the Uptis tyre: no air equals no leaks and no flats.

Another significant advantage of being airless is that the tyre will last longer, resulting in fewer tyres being discarded each year. Finally, because the tyre is devoid of air, there is no need to monitor the pressures. The tyre is always at the appropriate pressure for handling efficiency. Uptis tyres have a design that permits the stiffness of the internal structure to be adjusted to fit the specific application.

According to Michelin, the tire’s bump handling characteristics allow some cars to go without suspension components. Another advantage of using an internal rubber structure rather than air is that holes can be punched into the tread, allowing water to escape and improving vehicle handling in rainy conditions.

Uptis tyres are expected to last three times longer than regular tyres, requiring less energy and raw materials in the manufacturing process. Given that around 200 million tyres are discarded into landfills each year owing to blowouts or unrepairable punctures, this makes them much better for the environment.

It took nearly a decade and a half to get the tyres just right. One potential drawback of the new tyre is that it will necessitate the purchase of new specialist wheels. Michelin, on the other hand, maintains Uptis tyres, and the customized rims have a substantially longer lifespan than regular tyres while maintaining the same ride quality. The tyres increase the weight of the wheel by about 7%, which could be a disadvantage for electric vehicles. An EV’s range is reduced as its weight increases. GM was a partner in the tyre’s development and plans to offer them as an option as early as 2024. Michelin is currently working on obtaining regulatory authorization to use the tyres on public roads in the United States.