Michelin Test-Drives Its Puncture-Proof, Airless Tires For The First Time
By Ell Ko, 14 Sep 2021
Image via Michelin
At this year’s IAA Mobility Show, French tire manufacturer Michelin revealed its ventures into pioneering a puncture-proof, air-free tire.
In line with the company’s sustainable Vision Concept, it has been working on developing these tires for years and the product has just been successfully tested for the first time on a Mini Electric.
Named the Unique Punctureproof Tire System, or Uptis, the airless tire never needs to be filled and will never suffer flatness. Unlike conventional tires, these are made of a combination of an aluminum wheel and glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP) for a flexible, load-bearing structure.
During the tires’ initial phase, they’ll also consist of recycled plastic. The company is planning to phase this out, though, and make them entirely of organic materials.
“Michelin’s strategy is focused on sustainable mobility. That’s why our ambition is to be using 100% sustainable materials in our tires by 2050,” states Yves Chapot, General Manager of the Michelin Group, in its IAA press release.
Image via Michelin
Conventional tires have had incredibly detrimental effects on the environment. As reported by Interesting Engineering, upwards of three billion are produced annually and almost always end up in landfills at their end of life. There’s also a fire risk to them, which releases toxic fumes due to their rubber composition.
Uptis was test-driven on public roads for the first time by a group of people invited by the company. Although initially wary, Cyrille Roget, Michelin Group Technical and Scientific Communications Director, reported that there was “no difference compared with conventional tires.” This, he said, was the company’s “greatest satisfaction.”
Michelin states that it’s “on course” to bring Uptis to market by 2024, which will surely drive the market to new horizons.
A huge step forward in our UPTIS tyre journey: This week at #IAA we've had our airless tyre concept fitted to an electric Mini, driving on public roads for the first time outside of testing! #DrivingSustainability #IAAMobility pic.twitter.com/jrFuagKHEo— Michelin UK (@MichelinTyres) September 9, 2021
[via Interesting Engineering, images via Michelin]
More related news