These tires don’t need to be inflated or hold air
One day in the future you may never have to worry about getting a flat again. Tire manufacturer Michelin and the car giant GM are teaming up to eliminate the problem of flat tires by removing the air from them altogether.
This may sound confusing and counteractive, but Michelin is developing a tire called the Uptis (Unique Puncture-proof Tire System), a tire that cannot ever go flat or blow out because oxygen is not necessary for it to stay rigid. Instead, the Uptis features an internal system of flexible spokes that support the tire. The spokes work like mini shock absorbers, deforming to bumps to ensure a smoother ride.
As of right now, the Uptis is a working prototype that will begin testing on Chevy Bolt models this year in Michigan. The two companies hope that by 2024, the tires will be set for release on a commercially available vehicle.
Airless tires are not a new concept and already exist in the world of cycling. The one thing to worry about though, the is the need to replaced worn-out tires. Sure the Uptis won’t get any flats, but from the treads to the internal support structure itself, the tires will be susceptible to the ongoing punishment of pavement.