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Say Good-Bye to Flat Tires with Michelin’s New Airless Tire

Nicole Wakelin

There’s nothing worse than walking out the door to start your day only to find you have a flat tire. It’s never a good time for one, but flats always seem to pick the worst days to rear their ugly heads. Not only do they mess up your plans, but flat tires are also costly to replace. Michelin hopes to end your flat tire woes with its new airless tire.

The Uptis (Unique Puncture-Proof Tire System) made its debut at the annual Movin’ On with Michelin mobility conference in Montreal. This tire is a prototype today, but it’s one Michelin fully plans to put into production. The company is currently partnered with General Motors and will have Chevrolet Bolt EVs out on the streets of Michigan for real-world testing this summer.

Since these tires don’t need air, they eliminate the safety issues that often arise with traditional tires. You can’t have a blowout. You can’t have a slow leak due to a puncture. You can’t have premature wear due to improper inflation. Those issues simply disappear with the Uptis. You’re safer because you aren’t at risk of a flat or a blowout, and you keep more of your money in your pocket rather than paying to replace tires early. You also get back your most precious commodity – time. No more waiting at the side of the road for help after a blowout. No more sitting for hours at the shop waiting for the unplanned repair or replacement of damaged tires.

Airless tires can also help businesses – and you – by reducing downtime. A flat tire on a delivery or maintenance vehicle is inconvenient for a business and costs money in potential lost customers. It’s also an inconvenience for you if a business can’t keep an appointment with you because of a flat tire.

Uptis isn’t a tire made for just a narrow range of vehicles or heavy-duty commercial use, either. It’s designed specifically to work on passenger vehicles to handle their weight and the speeds we drive today, even on the highway, just like traditional tires. Airless tires might be a completely different kind of tire, but Michelin says it won’t feel that way when you drive.

An airless tire weighs about the same as a traditional tire and will drive like one when you get behind the wheel. You won’t have to alter how you drive, and it won’t feel odd to the driver or passengers along for the ride. There’s nothing you will need to change about how you drive. You simply change the kind of tires on your car and go.

Although this is only a prototype right now, you won’t have to wait too long to try airless tires on your car the next time you need replacements. If all goes as planned, the Uptis will go into production in 2024.