Blog

Michelin, GM Announce Airless Tires That Eliminate Flats & Reduce Waste

  • April 30, 2020
  • Articles , Earthmover Tires , New Tires , Road Service , Tire Retreading , Tire Service ,

earthmover tires

Michelin along with General Motors (GM) announced in summer of 2019 collaboration on a high-tech airless tire set to roll out on passenger vehicles as early as 2024. The tire’s non-pneumatic features make it a highly sought-after commodity for passenger vehicles, reducing the need for things like jacks and tire pressure monitoring sensors. Mirroring the same technology used in Michelin’s Tweel tire for commercial trucking and earthmover tires applications, the new tires could be a game-changer, eliminating flats and reducing landfill waste from passenger vehicles, as they apparently could be re-treaded multiple times, and thus might even last the life of the vehicle.

 

How the Airless Tires Work

 

The new tire, called Uptis (Unique Puncture-Proof Tire System), uses breakthrough technology that redefines what it means to have confidence on the road. Not much has been released about the underlying technology behind the non-pneumatic tires; however, Michelin has briefly noted that Uptis shares “some design concepts” (including substantial lateral stiffness) that are similar to their most recent Tweel skid-steer technology, which is used for off the road vehicles, such as skid-loaders or earthmovers.

 

 

Michelin’s Tweel tires are comprised of a tire-wheel assembly, using spokes to carry the load of your vehicle. A shear beam outer ring is also part of the tire’s construction, making it a force to be reckoned with when traveling on tough terrain.

 

 

Benefits of Non-Pneumatic Tires for Commercial Fleets

 

Since the tires are airless, the Uptis line is slated to provide passenger vehicles a slew of benefits similar to those already seen by the Tweel over the road applications, including the following:

 

  • Immunity to flats and blowouts
  • Reduced danger to passengers
  • Elimination of regular maintenance, such as pressure checks and puncture inspections
  • Decreased number of tires in scrap yards
  • Increased tire longevity
  • Reduced spending on new tires

 

Despite the promise of reduced spending on new tires, Tweel tires can cost $750 per tire. Thankfully, alternative products already exist that can provide similar benefits for fleet managers.

 

For example, radial earthmover tires are an excellent option for commercial fleets operating in tougher terrain. These earthmover tires are superior to bias-ply editions as they are constructed in two parts: The casing has one layer of rubber-coated steel cables arcing from one bead to the other while several rubber-coated steel plies comprise the steel belts placed under the tread to stabilize the crown. This results in the following key advantages:

 

  • 80% reduction in flats and punctures
  • Improved traction
  • Better ride quality and stability
  • Increased tire longevity compared to bias-ply

 

While some operations may not be able to take full advantage of the pricier Tweel, they can still enjoy the benefits of radial earthmover tires by Michelin.

 

Only time will tell how well Uptis are accepted by the marketplace and whether they will ever be a practical substitute for the current generation of commercial truck tires, but the collaborators are eager to tout the novel technology’s advantages prior to its official release.

 

STTC for Your Semi-Truck Tire Needs

 

If you’re looking for earthmover or skid-loader tires for your equipment, find the products you need at STTC. Our team carries the finest tire selection and tweel retreading from the industry’s top-rated brands, including Michelin! Find the tires best suited to your equipment’s needs by contacting STTC today.

shares