The era of punctures and pulling up on the side of the road changing your tyre may be coming to an end as the first airless tyres could be available to purchase by 2025.
Despite Michelin having been developing airless tyres since 2005, none have yet been fitted to a regular road car available to the general public. This is due to previous iterations of the aesthetically unique tyre not being able to support as much weight, or travel at high-enough speeds for wide scale use. Michelin and General Motors have joined forces and announced recently what the design of the new tyre would be, it has been in development for the best part of two decades, and bosses at the company say it could require zero maintenance from the owner of the vehicle.
The interestingly named, Uptis tyre (Unique Puncture-proof Tyre System) is made from resin-embedded fibreglass and an aluminium wheel. The design which the company unveiled looked like a cross between a tank’s tracks and a standard car wheel.
When speaking about this new concept at the Movin'On transport summit in Montreal, Michelin executive vice president Erick Vinesse said “This is a revolutionary prototype. We have proved that this concept isn't a dream.” This follows on from various other concept ideas that are slowly starting to become a reality, such as autonomous cars and zero emission all electric vehicles. “We have an ambition in the next 30 years to be 80 per cent renewable in everything”. This is a bold statement, but one that can be realistically achieved and is taking its first step with the introduction of renewable airless tyres.
Michelin has been in a race to be the first producers of these futuristic tyres with rival firms Toyota and Bridgestone but seems to have taken the lead and says they may be commercially available by 2025.The many benefits of these fibreglass resin tyres are evident and it means your car will need to have a tyre replacement less often. Just through this fact it means that fewer need to be produced and this then limits the raw materials, energy and emissions required to create them. In the environmentally conscious world that we live in, every company is trying to cut down unnecessary usage and try using less harmful products. Michelin claims some 200 million tyres are prematurely scrapped every year because of damage. However, if Michelin and General Motors get their prototype finalised and make sure that all the bugs are fixed, we could be seeing these incredible airless tyres soon and the need for tyre maintenance will be drastically reduced.
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