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Posted on June 04, 2019

Michelin, GM Take the Air Out of Tires for Passenger Vehicles

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Michelin and General Motors presented a new generation of airless wheel technology for passenger vehicles — the MICHELIN Uptis Prototype (or “Unique Puncture-proof Tire System”) — at the Movin’On Summit for sustainable mobility.

Michelin and GM also announced a joint research agreement under which the companies intend to validate the Uptis Prototype with the goal of introducing Uptis on passenger models as early as 2024.

Michelin and GM are testing the Uptis Prototype, beginning with vehicles like the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Later this year, the companies will initiate real-world testing of Uptis on a test fleet of Bolt EV vehicles in Michigan.

Because Uptis is airless, the breakthrough wheel assembly eliminates the dangerous risk of flat tires and blowouts:

  • Drivers of passenger vehicles feel safer on the road.
  • Operators of passenger vehicle fleets minimize downtime and improve efficiency resulting from flat tires and near-zero levels of maintenance.
  • Society at large benefits from extraordinary environmental savings through reduced use of raw materials for replacement tire or spare tire production.

The Uptis Prototype represents a major advancement toward achieving Michelin’s VISION concept, which was presented at the Movin’On Summit in 2017 as an illustration of Michelin’s strategy for research and  development in sustainable mobility. The VISION concept introduced four main pillars of innovation: airless, connected, 3D-printed and 100% sustainable (entirely renewable or bio-sourced materials).

“Uptis demonstrates that Michelin’s vision for a future of sustainable mobility is clearly an achievable dream,” said Florent Menegaux, chief executive officer for Michelin Group. “Through work with strategic partners like GM, who share our ambitions for transforming mobility, we can seize the future today.

“General Motors is excited about the possibilities that Uptis presents, and we are thrilled to collaborate with Michelin on this breakthrough technology,” said Steve Kiefer, senior vice president, global purchasing and supply chain, General Motors. “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.”

The Uptis Prototype is re-engineered for today’s passenger vehicles, and it is also well suited to emerging forms of mobility. 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.

“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,” said Eric Vinesse, executive vice president, research and development, Group Michelin, who revealed Uptis at the Movin’On Summit. “Uptis represents progress toward Michelin’s vision for tomorrow’s mobility, and also embodies our commitment to a better, sustainable mobility for all.”

Uptis features ground-breaking improvements in architecture and composite materials, which enable Uptis to bear the car’s weight at road-going speeds.

These innovations combine to eliminate compressed air to support the vehicle’s load, and result in extroardinary environmental savings: approximately 200 million tires worldwide are scrapped prematurely every year as a result of punctures, damage from road hazards or improper air pressure that causes uneven wear.

These advancements through the Uptis Prototype demonstrate Michelin’s and GM’s shared commitment to delivering safer, more sustainable mobility solutions.

For downloadable Facts, Images and Video select this link http://michelinmedia.com/michelin-uptis

 

 

About Michelin North America

Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks and motorcycles. The Company has earned a long-standing reputation for building innovative premium tires.  In addition to tires, the Company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America (www.michelinman.com) employs about 22,700 and operates 19 major manufacturing plants. Forbes magazine has ranked Michelin No. 1 on its annual survey of “Best Large Employers in America” for 2018. Learn more about purpose-driven careers with a purpose-driven company at jobs.michelinman.com.

 

FILED UNDER:
Category: Corporate, Sustainability
12 Comments

FRED | July 13, 2019 @ 2:23PM
What is the noise level of the uptis tire at highway speeds compared to regular tires?

William Shannon | June 10, 2019 @ 5:19PM
*One cut= failure (bounce/ instability)
*One rock inside body = projectile
*Heavy rain = no visibility to any one behind it
*Icing/snow ei; salt/granite dust = (see all of above)+ rust & corrosion from spray
*Not ready for hwy use (may never be)
*Excellent for ATV use
*Insurance companies will decide if they are profitable
*wind load resistance / noise

Christopher Kreschollek | June 10, 2019 @ 4:12AM
If they can be mounted to regular rim/wheel, please release ASAP.

Bd | June 6, 2019 @ 4:23PM
What happens in winter when the snow etc gets trapped ?

David | June 6, 2019 @ 8:06AM
Four questions:
1. You say the spokes/vanes are made from “Composite rubber and proprietary innovative high-strength resin embedded fiberglass” Is that short-strand fibreglass (10mm or so chopped strands), or longer strands?


2. You say it can be made using additive manufacture (3-D printing) - which aspects of the product use this technique?

3. Is the tread moulded conventionally? If not, how is it produced?


4. When you refer to “Composite rubber and proprietary innovative high-strength resin embedded fiberglass” Is it the resin that is 3-D printed. Where is the resin used - is it an armature within the spokes/vanes?


John | June 5, 2019 @ 1:33PM
@Sebastien: The rolling resistance target of Uptis is on par with a pneumatic ZP tire. Also, the benign failure mode is similar to a Tweel, in that the spokes can progressively fatigue and break, alerting the operator of a non-uniformity, rather than a sudden and catastrophic blowout that can occur in pneumatic tire.

Sebastien | June 5, 2019 @ 3:14AM
If there is air that can move in and arround the wheel it means it will create some resistance. i wonder if this will affect the WLPT tests on electric cars. And what happens if this wheel ruptures? is it worse then an air filled tires at high speeds?

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