New Technology Makes Blowouts, Flat Tires Things of the Past

Airless tire-and-wheel system could increase safety, reduce waste

The Michelin Uptis Prototype is tested on a Chevrolet Bolt EV at GM's Milford Proving Ground in Milford, Michigan. (Photo by Steve Fecht for General Motors)

If you’ve ever had a flat tire or, worse yet, a blowout you know what a problem it can be. But that problem might soon be a thing of the past. Michelin and General Motors have combined to introduce a system both companies expect to be the next generation in tire-and-wheel technology. Called the Michelin Uptis Prototype (or “Unique Puncture-proof Tire System”), the new technology will be tested later this year in real-world evaluation on a fleet of Chevrolet Bolt EVs. The new tires and wheels could be on production passenger vehicles as early as 2024.

A Chevrolet Bolt EV fitted with Michelin Uptis Prototype undergoing testing. GM expects to offer the system to passenger-car customers in 2024. (Photo by Steve Fecht for General Motors)

The airless technology enables the Uptis Prototype eliminate any threats of flats and blowouts. In addition to the obvious safety advantages, Uptis offers significant potential for reducing the use of raw materials and waste. GM says use of the airless tire-and-wheel system will contribute to its vision for a world with zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion.

The advantages of the technology are compelling, including:

Reducing the number of punctured or damaged tires that are scrapped before reaching the end of their life cycle.

Reducing the use of raw materials, energy for production and emissions linked to the manufacture of spare tires and replacement tires that are no longer required.

Reducing dangers related to flats and blowouts.

The system lasts longer by eliminating irregular wear and tear caused by over- or under-inflation.

We had the chance to discuss the innovative new system in an exclusive interview with Steve Kiefer, senior vice president, global purchasing and supply chain, General Motors. You can listen to that interview conducted by Jack R. Nerad, DT’s editor and chief content officer, by clicking below.

DT’s Interview with GM’s Steve Kiefer

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