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The future is here! Michelin airless tires have arrived and might end up on a vehicle near you sometime soon. What are the benefits of Michelin airless tires, and what kind of technology has Michelin been working on behind the scenes? The tire showed up at IAA MOBILITY in Munich and gave people a look at all the work.

How long do Michelin airless tires last?

Michelin Airless Tires
Michelin Airless Tires | Michelin

The Michelin Unique Puncture-Proof Tire System (Uptis) is a solution for passenger vehicles. The system should offer a more negligible risk of flat tires and other tire loss failures on the road. Such instances can occur from punctures, road hazards, and other debris. Michelin announced the initiative back in 2019, but it has picked up speed recently.

Everyday drivers in passenger vehicles, a standard car, truck, or SUV you might see on the road would benefit from the airless tires. Tires can be an expensive but necessary evil for people, and introducing a tire that a puncture cannot stop is a huge benefit.

Michelin says that there is no way to know how long a tire will last. Drivers should inspect tires after five years at a maximum. The airless tire is rumored to last about three times as long as conventional tires.

Over 15 years went into the Michelin airless tires

The Michelin brand has been designing airless tires for many years now. More than 15 years of research, design, and technology have gone into production. Michelin says that the Uptis “is a significant development in existing airless mobility technology.” Michelin says the wheels are ideal for passenger cars, fleets, and even self-driving vehicles with the elimination of pressure checks.

The tire company partnered with General Motors as a co-development partner. GM and Michelin hoped that the partnership could bring the airless tire into the mainstream by 2025. Another benefit to the Michelin airless tires is the sustainability aspect. The longevity of the Uptis would ultimately help reduce the number of tires thrown away. Plus, it would reduce the number of raw materials needed to make tires and help reduce the energy used in production.

Chevy Bolt EVs were testing the tires a few years ago. But the tires have been out and about recently doing real-world testing at the IAA MOBILITY 2021 Munich, Auto Evolution reported.

“Revolutionary design yields massive benefits”

Michelin Unique Puncture-Proof Tire System (Uptis)
The Michelin Unique Puncture-Proof Tire System (Uptis) Prototype | Steve Fecht for General Motors

Michelin says that the Uptis offers “significant potential for reducing the use of raw materials and waste.” The statistics show that 12% of tires are thrown away each year due to unrepairable air loss failure. 8% of tires are scrapped every year due to irregular tire wear, mostly tire pressure issues. Michelin says these facts mean that Uptis could save 20% of discarded tires every year.

That’s 200 million tires scrapped each year that airless tires can potentially save. Michelin says that weight is the equivalent of the weight of 200 Eiffel Towers. The tire maker based this data on an in-house survey of 135,000 tires between 2012 and 2015.

Michelin has already seen some success with the airless tire “Tweel” concept, so the Uptis should be easy enough to roll out. Get it? Roll out? You can find Tweel technology on a variety of mowers and machines. Keep an eye out for more information about the Michelin airless tires as the company gets closer to making these widely available.


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