Michelin and GM announce airless tire, Uptis

June 4, 2019

Tyson Fisher


MONTREAL – On Tuesday, June 4, Michelin introduced a new prototype tire called Uptis. The tire was created in collaboration with General Motors to create airless wheel technology, eliminating the risks of flat tires.

Uptis, or Unique Puncture-proof Tire System, was announced during Michelin’s Movin’On Summit in Montreal, a three-day event exploring sustainable mobility. Michelin and GM reached a research agreement that intends to make the Uptis tire available for passenger vehicles as early as 2024.

According to Michelin, the tire is airless. By reducing the possibility of flat tires, Uptis will allow safer driving for commuters. Passenger vehicle fleets will potentially save money by reducing downtime caused by flat tires and other issues arising from tires that use air.

Using improvements in tire architecture and composite materials, the tires can handle a passenger vehicle’s weight at moving speeds. Michelin estimates that as many as 200 million tires are scrapped prematurely due to punctures, improper air pressure and other damages caused by the roads.

GM will begin testing Uptis tires on its Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle. A test fleet of Bolts will hit the streets of Michigan later this year.

Uptis is part of Michelin’s Vision concept that was launched two years ago at its Movin’On Summit. The concept includes four areas of innovations towards sustainable mobility: airless, connected, 3D-printed and 100% sustainable, which means completely renewable or bio-sourced materials.

“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,” said Steve Kiefer, GM’s senior vice president of global purchasing and supply chain.

According to a Michelin spokesperson, both companies are focusing on passenger vehicles at the moment. Any potential application for larger vehicles will have to wait until at least after the five-year development process for the current passenger vehicle prototype.

Uptis prototype tire from Michelin and General Motors
A prototype tire using airless wheel technology called Uptis, for Unique Puncture-proof Tire System. (Photo copyright General Motors, used with permission)