Airless tyres would usually be bad news, but Michelin’s upcoming Uptis tyres won’t leave you feeling deflated.
First revealed in 2019, Michelin has been working on its airless Uptis consumer car tyre for around 10 years and is aiming to bring it to market in 2024.
The tyres have been tested on vehicles such as the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt, but Michelin gave YouTube user Mr JWW a demonstration of the tyres fitted to an electric Mini Cooper SE in Germany.
Standing for Unique Puncture-proof Tyre System, these tyres don’t need air in order to be inflated.
It’s part of a joint research partnership between Michelin and General Motors.
The Uptis has a conventional tread pattern, offering the possibility of different tread patterns, and boasts a fibreglass structure and an array of rubber spokes that create the tyre shape.
In this tyre design alone there are 50 separate patents according to Cyrille Roget, technical and scientific communication director at Michelin.
Roget also noted the tyres almost rival the performance of traditional pneumatic tyres.
The production Uptis tyre is said to be potentially offered with or without a sidewall as it isn’t necessary, which allows you to see the inner workings of the tyre and how it reacts to obstacles.
At its core, this tyre is being developed to reduce the amount of tyres scrapped due to punctures.
According to Michelin, 200 million tyres scrapped each year worldwide could be addressed by the Uptis tyre.
At this stage, Michelin is aiming the Uptis tyre at fleets and manufacturers, as well as markets where vehicles are prone to tyre punctures.
This isn’t the only type of airless tyre that Michelin is working on.
The company already has its Tweel airless radial tyres available for purchase in North America.
These 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.