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Michelin unveils airless tire prototype at Movin’On Summit mobility event

Michelin is partnering with General Motors to road-test a new airless tire prototype on Chevy Bolt EV cars later this year. Photo: Clarissa Hawes/FreightWaves

Michelin rolled out its new high-tech airless tire for passenger vehicles at the kick off of the Movin’On Summit for sustainable mobility on June 4 in Montreal.

The prototype, the Michelin Uptis, is part of a joint research partnership with General Motors. The companies plan to start real-world testing of the Uptis prototype on the Chevrolet Bolt EV later this year in Michigan.

The goal is to roll out the renewable tire on passenger vehicles as early as 2024.

The puncture-proof tire, which is made of 100 percent renewable or bio-sourced materials, is the second concept tire to be launched by Michelin at the mobility event, following the unveiling of the Vision tire in 2017.

The new prototype is part of Michelin’s Vision concept for innovation that it is airless, connected, 3D-printed and fully sustainable.

“Uptis demonstrates that Michelin’s vision for a future of sustainable mobility is clearly an achievable dream,” said Florent Menegaux, chief executive of Michelin.

The renewable tire could save as many as 200 million tires worldwide from being scrapped every year as a result of punctures, damage from road hazards or improper air pressure that causes uneven wear, according to Eric Vinesse, executive vice president of research and development of Group Michelin.

“The Uptis prototype demonstrates Michelin’s capacity for innovation – in both the mastery of these high-tech materials and also the development approach in close collaboration with GM, which validates our Vision concept as a roadmap for innovation,” Vinesse said.

While not available on commercial vehicles yet, the ground-breaking improvements in architecture and composite materials allow Uptis to bear the car’s weight at road speeds.

“The vehicles and fleets of tomorrow – whether autonomous, all-electric, shared service or other applications – will demand near-zero maintenance from the tire to maximize their operating capabilities,’ said Steve Kiefer, senior vice president of global purchasing and supply chain of General Motors.

Clarissa Hawes

Clarissa has covered all aspects of the trucking industry for 14 years. She is an award-winning journalist known for her investigative and business reporting. Before joining FreightWaves, she wrote for Land Line Magazine and If you have a news tip or story idea, send her an email to [email protected]