Do you remember the Michelin Tweel or futuristic-looking tires that are supported by rubber spokes instead of pressurized air? The French manufacturer of rubber goods has developed a tire that is strikingly similar to futuristic-looking tires. It is expected that the tire will be seen on public roads within the next few years.
The name of the prototype is Uptis or short for Unique Protocol-Proof Tire System. According to Steve Cron, senior principal product engineer of Michelin, Uptis is scheduled to be launched by General Motors vehicles by 2024. The two major companies are working together on the tire development project using Chevrolet Bolt, an all-electric hatchback as their developmental platform.
Uptis has numerous benefits compared to conventional pneumatic tires. The first benefit is never having to deal with a flat again. Uptis can run over broken glass, debris or drywell screws. The tire does not require maintenance or periodic air pressure checks. Vehicles that have been fitted with Uptis tires no longer need a jack, spare tire or tire pressure monitoring hardware.
Another advantage is Uptis tires can potentially be re-treaded when worn out instead of replacing them with a new set. A fresh layer of rubber can be applied on the tire similar to large tires that are used on tractor trailers and heavy equipment. Uptis tires have very high lateral stiffness to improve vehicle handling.
Uptis tires are based on Michelin’s Tweel that was introduced five years ago. Tweel is being used on non-roadgoing vehicles like skid loaders, lawn mowers and ATVs. At present, the exciting new tire design is undergoing small-scale testing. Tweel is not being used on road-going motor cars because it was designed for industrial applications with polyurethane-reinforced spokes for added stiffness. Meanwhile, Uptis is made from pure rubber that has been strengthened by fiberglass and resin.
It is easy to buy car tires but it is difficult to choose the right ones. The tire you want may not be within your budget and won’t work well for your location and lifestyle. There are specific qualities of different tires that include cost, appearance and brand and there is always the perfect tire from the selection of good tires.