Michelin airless tires are ready for mass production
At the recent IAA in Munich, the Uptis was presented – a full-size module, a disc plus an airless tire that must be installed instead of a conventional wheel on a car. It took Michelin 16 years to go from a prototype to a finished commercial product that will go into mass production from 2024. This became possible thanks to collaboration with carmaker GM, and the first car to receive new tires was the Mini Electric.
Each year, 200 million tires are recycled around the world, and while the Uptis airless set is not eternal either, it will last at least three times longer, which will reduce waste. What’s even better, the blowout-free design is virtually impervious to damage, neither punctures nor impacts, and therefore doesn’t fail in most accidents. Moreover, the manufacturer recommends deliberately puncturing the tread surface if you have to drive in puddles frequently – this will allow water to drain faster and help avoid aquaplaning.
Uptis weighs 7 times less than a typical wheel with a metal disc and rubber tire, and it takes much less raw material to produce. With this wheel there is no need to monitor the pressure and waste time pumping the tires. The Uptis design allows you to customize its parameters for specific purposes, but by default it is no different from a typical wheel. This was the main surprise – the visitors of the exhibition who drove Mini Electric with Uptis did not notice anything new, because the new cameras fit perfectly into the existing architecture of cars without any additional actions.