Michelin Testing Airless Tire Technology

April 23, 2024
Michelin is currently developing a prototype for airless tire technology, called Uptis (Unique Puncture-proof Tire System).

Michelin is currently developing a prototype for airless tire technology, according to Green Car Reports.

At a recent event surrounding EVs and sustainability, Michelin Director of Scientific and Technical Communications Cyrille Roget said that the company is currently looking toward pursuing airless technology. Roget cited the 20% of tires that are taken out of service early as a result of sidewall damage or punctures, and that airless tires could save around 320 million tires each year.

The prototype airless line is called Uptis (Unique Puncture-proof Tire System), and was first introduced in 2019. General Motors initially planned to test the technology on the Chevy Bolt EV, but the results of any testing done have not been shared.

Last year, DHL Express in Singapore and La Poste, the French postal service, both agreed to equip 50 vehicles in each fleet with Uptis tires to conduct real-world trials on the prototype. The testing will run through the end of 2025.

Michelin has dabbled in airless technology before, having announced Tweel (tire plus wheel) as a concept in 2005 before releasing it commercially in 2012 to be used in specific low-speed appliances like riding mowers and industrial equipment, but the Uptis would be another step for the company.

Though tire manufacturers like Hankook and Bridgestone have presented their own airless tire concepts and Goodyear has a prototype, Michelin noted that no other manufacturer is conducting the real-world testing that they are, and that the company will be collecting as much data as it can.

“Airless technology is completely new in terms of design, in terms of production, in terms of homologation, so we have to learn everything,” said Roget.

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