This strange wheel does not need to be inflated, it never gets pricked, is shock resistant, does not deform and lasts longer than a traditional tire. This wheel of the future has been in development for 16 years and now, finally, has a release date.
The wheel is called Uptis and according to its developers – Michelin and General Motors – will be available “as soon as 2024” as an option for several of its passenger cars. Right now, they say, the two manufacturers are working for its approval by the North American state and federal authorities.
How does it work
The final design of the wheel It has been presented at the Munich motor show for the first time. Or rather, they have allowed the public to test it mounted on a Mini. The criticism has been unanimous, it seems: you don’t realize that the wheel is not a traditional wheel. As automotive YouTuber James Walker says below these lines, the car drives the same.
And that’s great news for everyone because, according to Michelin, this wheel is not only puncture-proof but also more durable than a traditional wheel.
The Uptis (Unique Puncture-Proof Tire System) replaces the entire wheel, both the rim and the tire.
The tire does not work like a traditional one. There is no internal air chamber and obviously no pressure level. The internal architecture offers the same comfort as a traditional wheel, say Michelin and General Motors. The difference is that, according to them, it does not require any maintenance.
Michelin also says that it withstands impacts much better than a traditional tire, which will prevent blowouts. Nor does it add resistance in driving, they say. And in theory it is better to avoid the “aquaplanning “, the dreaded skid effect when braking on muddy pavements.
The tire brand also claims that it is much better for the environment. First because it requires a lot less material and energy for its manufacture and thus generates a lower CO2 footprint. Then because it would avoid the more than 200 million wheels that, according to Michelin, end up in the global landfill every year due to irreparable punctures. And finally, as it lasts longer, fewer wheels will need to be made.
Until now, the use of this type of tire was reserved for industrial applications, in heavy machinery. But if everything goes as GM and Michelin say, from 2024 we will begin to see them on the streets.