What started as “Tweel” is now “Uptis.” Over the last few years, Michelin has been developing a revolutionary new airless tyre that does not need air fill-ups and is environmentally friendly, puncture-free tyre.
It is high time that we reinvented the proverbial wheel. Thanks to a collaboration between Michelin and General Motors, we can expect this advanced tyre technology by 2024.
Michelin has been working on airless tyre technology since 2014.
What is Michelin Uptis?
Uptis stands for Unique Puncture proof Tyre System. Showcased at the Movin’ On Summit for sustainable mobility, this new kind of tyre completely eliminates the risk of flat tyres and blowouts. Michelin has invested $50 million and the past five years in its development. The 2014 Tweel concept previewed the technology, although it was not ready for commercial applications then.
The Uptis is an evolution of Tweel, featuring a different architecture and composite materials. This enables the tyre to bear the car’s weight at road-going speeds. Roughly 200 million tyres are scrapped prematurely around the world every year as a result of punctures, damage from road hazards, or improper air pressure causing uneven wear. The Uptis does away with the need for filling up the air, automatically cutting out damages associated with current tyre technology.
Does Uptis have space in the future?
Florent Menegaux, CEO for Michelin Group, said, “Uptis demonstrates that Michelin’s vision for a future of sustainable mobility is clearly an achievable dream. Through work with strategic partners like GM, who share our ambitions for transforming mobility, we can seize the future today.”
Michelin Uptis is re-engineered for today’s passenger vehicles and is also ready to serve future forms of mobility. The vehicles and fleets of tomorrow would demand near-zero maintenance from the tyre to maximize their operating capabilities. Uptis is well-suited for this purpose. Additionally, its construction absorbs sharp uneven surfaces, effectively rendering current tyres obsolete.
GM and Michelin developed the Uptis together, showcasing the prototype at the Movin' On show.
Although Tweel seemed to be the kind of technology that would probably not make it beyond prototype stage, Michelin and GM are already well ahead in development, and striving to bring Uptis to world streets by 2024.