Michelin has announced it has partnered with French postal service company La Poste to equip its Uptis puncture-proof airless tyres to post vans.
There are initially three La Poste vans fitted with the prototype Michelin Uptis tyres delivering letters and parcels in the Lesquin, Valenciennes, and Douai sectors of France.
The companies plan to scale the amount of La Poste vans with these prototype airless tyres to nearly 40 by 2024.
As previously reported, these Michelin Uptis (standing for Unique Puncture-proof Tyre System) tyres don’t need compressed air to be inflated.
Michelin has been working on the airless Uptis consumer car and light truck tyre for around 10 years now.
It was first revealed in 2019 and is still not available for the public to purchase. The company previously said it’s aiming for a launch in 2024.
The airless tyre concept has been developed in partnership with General Motors, and according to Michelin technical and scientific communication director Cyrille Roget its design contains 50 separate patents.
Michelin claims the Uptis tyre is currently the only airless tyre in the world to travel on open roads “under real conditions” on three continents. The company claims the tyres have covered almost three million kilometres.
Michelin’s main target market for the Uptis airless tyre is light truck fleets intended for professional use, and particularly deliveries.
The intended benefit of the Michelin Uptis airless tyres on the La Poste post vans is to reduce downtime and maintenance.
There is also an intended environmental benefit, with the companies aiming to reduce the number and frequency of tyre replacements.
This isn’t the only type of airless tyre Michelin is working on. The company already has its Tweel airless radial tyres available for purchase in North America.
These Tweel airless tyres are meant for ATVs, golf carts, ride-on mowers, as well as small commercial applications.
They were also seen in the HBO TV series Westworld, fitted to Can-Am Maverick X3 ATVs in prototype form.