Michelin’s new airless tires could be on all GM passenger vehicles by 2024

Michelin and GM team up on an innovative airless tire for passenger vehicles, introduced at the Movin’On Summit 2019 in Montreal — an annual event focused on sustainable mobility and future tech.

Called MICHELIN Uptis Prototype (or “Unique Puncture-proof Tire System”), GM aims to equip all their passenger vehicles with these tires by as early as 2024, with real-world testing of the Uptis tire beginning later this year on a fleet of Bolt EVs.

Built from a mix of composite rubber and resin embedded fiberglass, Michelin states the Uptis can bear the car’s weight at road-going speeds while the innovations combine to eliminate compressed air to support the vehicle’s load, and result in “extroardinary environmental savings.”

michelin uptis airless tire bolt ev testing
GM plans to have the Uptis on all passenger vehicles by 2024, while current testing starts this year with the Bolt EV. Photo: Michelin

Passenger vehicles of the future will likely include autonomous, all-electric, and shared service so don’t be surprised to see these flat run tires everywhere.

For Michelin, this is all a part of their VISION concept of sustainability, first introduced in 2017, focusing on four main things: airless, connected, 3D-printed and 100% sustainable.

As the tire maker puts it, “Uptis represents progress toward Michelin’s vision for tomorrow’s mobility, and also embodies our commitment to a better, sustainable mobility for all.”

For General Motors, the supplier partnership is a win for them while offering drivers of the future a hassle-free product. “Uptis is an ideal fit for propelling the automotive industry into the future and a great example of how our customers benefit when we collaborate and innovate with our supplier partners,” says the automaker.

Overall benefits of airless tires

Airless tires, including these ones, aren’t the most attractive compared to conventional rubber but they serve a greater purpose that saves drivers money and hassle in the long run by eliminating the risks of flat tires and blowouts.

Providing a near-zero level of maintenance, more driver confidence on the road, and less impact on the environment as a result of less materials and wastage, the future of these odd-looking tires seems bright – especially for self-driving passenger vehicles.

michelin uptis airless tire side view
Built from a mix of composite rubber and resin embedded fiberglass, Michelin states the Uptis can bear the car’s weight at road-going speeds while the innovations combine to eliminate compressed air to support the vehicle’s load, and result in “extroardinary environmental savings.” Photo: Michelin