Can airless tires stand the test of Michigan roads? Well, General Motors and Michelin are giving it a try.
The companies announced a joint research agreement "to validate the Uptis Prototype" – an airless, puncture-proof wheel.
Michelin and GM are testing the Uptis Prototype, starting 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, according to a press release.
The goal is to introduce the Uptis on passenger vehicles in 2024.
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.
"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 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."
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