Michelin had presented Unique Puncture-proof Tire System (UPTIS) prototype to the world in 2019, which is a combined airless tire and wheel assembly for passenger cars.
Michelin, UPTIS represents a genuine technological breakthrough thanks to its unique structure and materials.
After announcing a partnership with GM last year, the company recently started giving media test drives of vehicles with the new airless tires.
Michelin let them drive a Mini Electric equipped with the new Uptis airless tires, and the experience was just like driving any other vehicle. It didn’t feel better or worse, just basically the same.
Combining an aluminum wheel and a flexible load-bearing structure made from glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP), a product of Michelin’s expertise in high-tech materials, UPTIS delivers all the performance qualities associated with a tire.
And, in reality, that’s what we really want from airless tires — something that acts like a tire but doesn’t give us all of the headaches of puncture and loss of air pressure.
Michelin says tweels will last three times longer than normal tires, even when nothing goes wrong for the life of the tire. From other sources, it looks like tread-life will be better because they can get away with deeper tread patterns than they can with pneumatic tires.
Lasting three times longer means tire waste would be reduced by 66%.
Another advantage is the much lower rate of premature failures. According to company close to 200 million tires end up in landfills annually because they get unrepairable holes or tears in them. This leads to a lot of tire waste that can simply be eliminated by tweels. That’s no small feat.
One final thing that Michelin has been touting in press releases is that the Uptis tweel will be recyclable. These tires are supposed to start showing up on GM vehicles starting in 2024.
Reference- Michelin Online Newsroom, Clean Technica, New Atlas,