Michelin’s new Unique Puncture-Proof Tire System (Uptis) does away with one of the defining aspects of tires as we’ve known them for more than 100 years: the air inside. Unlike past attempts at airless tires, Uptis functions the way other modern tires do and, Michelin claims, will provide a similar driving experience.
Unveiled at the company’s sustainable-mobility-focused Movin’On Summit in Montreal today, Uptis is a tire without a traditional sidewall that carries its load by the top thanks to a new resin-embedded fiberglass material that Michelin was granted over 50 patents for.
“The idea was to develop a technology that was strong enough to carry the load but light enough to replace the air,” Cyrille Roget, technical and scientific communication director for the Michelin Group, told Car and Driver. “If you have a load on the tire and you cut all the spokes at the bottom, you will see that nothing will change, demonstrating that the load is carried by the top of it, not by the under parts.” Other airless tires, he said, often carry the load at the bottom of the tire, which is very inefficient and causes extra heating due to compression.
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