GM, Michelin to test airless tire prototype

June 5, 2019

General Motors and Michelin said Tuesday that they will test an airless tire prototype called the Uptis.

Uptis, which stands for "unique puncture-proof tire system," is designed to be puncture-proof, to last longer than a conventional tire, and to require less energy to produce. The airless tire made its debut at the Movin' On Summit, which focuses on sustainable mobility. 

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On the safety front, the tire eliminates the risk of a flat or sudden blowout. Since there's no need to inflate the Uptis tire, there's no risk of premature wear to the tire from over or under inflation.

GM, Michelin Uptis airless tire prototype

GM, Michelin Uptis airless tire prototype

Michelin said around 20 percent of tires are scrapped annually due to punctures and blowouts before they would otherwise need to be replaced. That equates to about 200 million tires per year or the weight of 200 Eiffel Towers.

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While we've seen numerous airless tire prototypes come and go, GM says it is serious about Uptis. It intends to continue work with Michelin and start real-world tests of the tire using its Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car. Currently, the automaker aims to make the airless tires a reality on production cars by 2024.

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