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Michelin and General Motors presented the next generation of tyres that can be used for normal passenger vehicles by 2024. The tyres were given the name Uptis Prototype (Unique Puncture proof Tyre system). The lunch was made at Movin’On Summit for sustainable mobility.

The joint research agreement by both the companies would aim at introducing the tyres for passenger models by 2024. Uptis prototype would be introduced to vehicle models like Chevrolet Bolt EV. The companies plan for real-world testing of Uptis, later this year on a test fleet of Bolt EV vehicles in Michigan.

Michelin has been working on airless tyres for a few years. The concept was showcased in the year 2014 and millions have gone into an investment for making these tyres for commercial use. Uptis is a version of the research and expected to provide a few advantages over the normal tyres.

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The few benefits of using these tyres for vehicles include:

  • No flat tyres: Since the tyres do not have any air in them, there will be any flat tyres. This would reduce the chances of accidents and increases the safety of the vehicle many times. Vehicles need not carry any spare tyre even on rough and bouncy roads. The tyres also eliminate irregular ware caused due to over or under inflation.
  • Less maintenance: The life of the tyres would be increased as there will be no flats or punctures. Less money would be needed for maintaining and there would be no need to spend money on replacing the old ones.
  • Vehicle industries can save money: In areas like farming, mining and construction industries tire can cause problems in the production cycle and reduce the efficiency of the company. Airless tyres would be welcome in such industries as they would help in removing such bottlenecks in the production process.
  • Reduced CO2 emissions: Energy is lost mainly because of rolling resistance that comes from a repeated change in the shape of tyres while they move. This problem is eliminated by airless tyres, thus reducing CO2 emissions,
  • Eco-friendly options: The raw materials used in the making of these are environment-friendly and thus reduces the need for environmentally harmful tyre production. Since the replacement of tyres would also be reduced, so the carbon print of vehicles will be minimised thus helping the environment. The production process of these tyres would require less energy and releases quite a smaller amount of emissions. 

The tyres are made from composite rubber and resin-embedded fibreglass. This material helps in bearing the car’s weight easily and allows safe movement of the vehicle at high speed. An earlier version of airless tyres would not allow the cars or bikes to travel at high speeds.

The tyres that can be 3D printed are well suited for emerging forms of mobility. They work ideally well for autonomous, all electric and shared service or other applications. This move by the company would be a step towards their global vision of “a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion”.