And as Michelin reveals, there's another important reason why the Uptis nearly certainly fits into the future-that it's "well suited to emerging forms of mobility", As automakers work not just to electrify their vehicles but to position them toward new kinds of mobility and future autonomous-driving features, some traditional pieces of the automobile may soon go away-like air in the tires.
It's called the Uptis Prototype, which stands for "Unique Puncture-proof Tire System".
The automaker is partnering with Michelin to develop a revolutionary non-pneumatic wheel and tire combination for use on production cars and trucks.
Michelin and GM also announced a joint research agreement under which the companies intend to validate the Uptis Prototype with the goal of introducing Uptis on passenger models as early as 2024.
Apart from making the tire airless and puncture-proof, Michelin claims that Uptis tires are more environmentally-friendly too.
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The two companies announced a joint research agreement June 4, under which GM will test the tire under real-world conditions at its facility in MI, using a fleet of Chevrolet Bolt electric cars.
Uptis is not Michelin's first airless concept tire. Real-world tests will begin later this year on a fleet of Bolt EV vehicles in MI. "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", said Steve Kiefer, Senior Vice President, Global Purchasing and Supply chain, General Motors. "The Bolt EV and our next-generation BEV are really the platform for that, so it's the logical first place".
Previous versions were mildly successful but unable to deal with the high-speed and considerable mass of the vehicles.
These two companies aren't the only ones working on airless tires for vehicles; Toyota and Sumitomo have also shown a concept with them, in 2017. Since there's no need to inflate the Uptis tire, there's no risk of premature wear to the tire from over or under inflation.
Airless tires feature a conventional tire tread wrapped around a resin spoke that can compress to absorb impacts. "You always have the right pressure, so the tire will have a longer life", he said.