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General Motors and Michelin to co-develop maintenance-free, airless Uptis tyre

General Motors and Michelin have announced they’ll work together to develop the tyre maker’s Uptis Prototype airless tyre, with GM fitting them to a fleet of Chevy Bolts for testing.

General Motors (GM) has said it will work with Michelin on the further development and testing of that company’s Uptis Prototype tyre (Unique Puncture Proof Tyre System). GM has committed to introducing this airless tyre system onto passenger vehicles by 2024. To prove the concept and generate real-world test data, GM will fit Michelin’s prototype tyre system to a fleet of Chevrolet Bolt EVs later this year.

The Michelin Uptis Prototype is tested on a Chevrolet Bolt EV Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at the General Motors Milford Proving Ground in Milford, Michigan. GM intends to develop this airless wheel assembly with Michelin and aims to introduce it on passenger vehicles as early as 2024. (Photo by Steve Fecht for General Motors)

In a statement, Steve Kiefer, senior vice president, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, General Motors, said: “General Motors is excited about the possibilities that Uptis presents, and we are thrilled to collaborate with Michelin on this breakthrough technology.

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“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.”

So, what’s the point of the Uptis? Michelin reckons it’ll reduce the number of tyre related issues, like under-inflation leading to premature wear and potentially failure and, being puncture proof, well, that advantage speaks for itself.

The Michelin Uptis Prototype is tested on a Chevrolet Bolt EV Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at the General Motors Milford Proving Ground in Milford, Michigan. GM intends to develop this airless wheel assembly with Michelin and aims to introduce it on passenger vehicles as early as 2024. (Photo by Steve Fecht for General Motors)

The wheel itself is made from aluminium while the tyre ‘sidewall’ is constructed from rubber and high-strength resin embedded with fibreglass. The tyre face looks exactly like a regular tyre.

Here’s how Michelin summarises the advantages:

  • Reduces the number of punctured or damaged tires that are scrapped before reaching the end of their life cycle.
  • Reduces 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.
  • Lasts longer by eliminating irregular wear and tear caused by over- or under-inflation.
  • Reduces dangers related to flats and blowouts.


Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober was born in the shadow of Mount Panorama in Bathurst and, so, it was inevitable he’d fall into work as a motoring writer. He began his motoring career in 2000 reviewing commercial vehicles, before becoming editor of Caravan & Motorhome magazine. He then moved to MOTOR Magazine before going freelance and contributing to Overlander 4WD, 4×4 Australia, TopGear Australia, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, The Australian, CARSguide, and many more.