The Airless Car Tyre

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Michelin is partnering with General Motors to bring its airless tyre prototype to the roads, potentially saving 200 million punctured car tyres from the scrap heap annually. The two companies aim to develop Michelin‘s UPTIS (or Unique Puncture-proof Tire System), which promises to eliminate both the waste and the danger that comes from a flat or blown-out tyre, so that it can be used on the road by 2024. The tyres feature a complex internal architecture made from carefully engineered materials that remove the need for compressed air to support the vehicle’s weight. They are so tough that Michelin says they will require a “near-zero” level of maintenance. The main benefit is that this will reduce the number of tyres scrapped due to punctures – a number that Michelin estimates at 200 million worldwide annually. That’s not counting the manufacture of spare tyres, which UPTIS would also make redundant. Michelin announced its research partnership with General Motors (GM) earlier this month at Montreal’s Movin’On Summit for sustainable mobility – the same event at which it first unveiled the UPTIS prototype under the name Vision two years ago. The next step will be to test the prototype on GM’s Chevrolet Bolt electric cars. The companies aim to introduce the tyres onto some GM passenger vehicles in 2024.

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