If you have ever experienced a flat, you would know how troubling and frustrating it could be. However, future may not be as unforgiving, as Michelin and General Motors may just have discovered the holy grail of puncture-proof tyres. Working together, Michelin and GM unveiled the Michelin Uptis prototype at Movin’On Summit for sustainable mobility. Short for “Unique Puncture-proof Tire System”, Uptis runs without air, making it puncture-proof and completely free from blowouts.
Uptis utilizes composite materials and advanced architecture, which enable it to bear the car’s weight without the need for compressed air. Uptis has already been tested at road-going speeds and it has delivered remarkable results.
In the next step, Michelin and GM will be testing Uptis in real-world conditions by launching it with cars such as Chevrolet Bolt EV. An entire fleet of Bolt EV cars will be equipped with Uptis and these will be tested in real-world conditions in Michigan.
If the tests are successful, Uptis could go into commercial production by 2024. Although Uptis is punctureproof, it has its own set of challenges such as material fatigue and sagging. Things like shock absorbing capability, driving dynamics, braking, acceleration, and other related factors need to be evaluated before Uptis is finalized for commercial production. Price is another key factor that will determine whether Uptis reaches the masses.
In theory and preliminary tests, Uptis has emerged as a reliable and safe option for car users. The risk of puncture and blowouts is eliminated, which is a significant improvement over standard tyres that use compressed air. With Uptis, vehicle fleets can reduce downtime resulting from flat tyres and blowouts. Uptis is also maintenance free, which is another significant benefit for fleet owners.
Uptis will also help save the environment, as fewer tyres will be scrapped due to punctures and blowouts. Available data indicates that around 20% of tyres are scrapped every year due to punctures or irregular wear caused by low/high tire pressure. Around 200 million tyres are scrapped each year, which creates a huge burden on the environment. Uptis can minimize such wastage and contribute to the cause of environmental conservation.