You could say that now the time when car technology concepts are being realized. From design, features, to safety technology and ride comfort, everything is moving in a positive direction. But talking about the concept of driving innovation that is realized, do you remember the airless tire technology that was booming because this innovation really helped the safety, comfort and maintenance aspects of the car itself. You are right if you guess that airless tire technology can be mass-produced, all thanks to Michelin and General Motors (GM).
Uptis is the name of the tire without the wind or the scientific term non-pneumatic tires (NPT) which is ready for mass production by the French tire manufacturer and the American car manufacturing group. With a very futuristic design because of the tire wall that has a cavity that translates into exposing the tire structure, there are pros and cons indeed to it. But one thing is certain, Michelin Uptis is really a straight outta Scifi movie! Previously, Michelin had indeed created an NPT named Tweel, but for Uptis it was more focused on passenger car production.
Maybe you doubt whether the Uptis can withstand the weight of the car for driving every day, see the tire structure that is different as tires in general. For this reason, Michelin revealed the material made in creating this NPT innovation. In addition to composite rubber which is the basic material for making car tires, they use fiberglass that contains resins to further strengthen the tire structure. So that this car tire is much stronger in terms of holding the weight of the car up to high speeds, compared to when in concept form. Until now Michelin and GM have tested the strength of Uptis tires that are paired on the Chevrolet Bolt EV.
The advantages that you will get if you have enough of these tires counted. You don’t need to be afraid of a tire having a leak or maybe exploding in the middle of the road until the surface is uneven due to over or under-inflated. This has an effect on tire care and also its useful life so that it can reduce tire changes too often. There is growing information that Michelin shares data on the number of tires dumped due to premature damage reaching 200 million per year. So indirectly, by using Uptis we can reduce world rubber waste, go green on the go.
But there are some things that could be a cons factor in the Uptic Michelin. First is how long the structure retains the shape of the tire so that it doesn’t ‘go limp’ and causes a visual that looks like a flat tire. Second is the absence of tire walls, which reduces the safety side of the tire because of the design that exposes the tire structure, whether it is strong enough to stand with the interference that enters between the structure. Then the third is a matter of price, because the flat run tire (RFT) has a fairly high price, what about the NPT on this one?
Michelin and GM themselves will only begin mass production of this latest tire in 2024 later on passenger vehicles. Hopefully with the time for 5 years for road testing and further development, we hope that Uptis is truly realized. Even though we have applied this wireless tire technology from immemorial time, it is found in horse carts 😀