French tire-maker Michelin is creating AIRLESS tires for Chevrolet Bolt electric cars in the next three to five years: Design includes flexible ribs that would provide a spring action
- Michelin is set to take the tire market by storm after announcing that it has been working with General Motors on developing airless tires
- The new tires will be modeled and sold by the next-generation Chevrolet Bolt electric car in the next three to five years – introduced as early as 2024
- If a car’s tire tread is pierced, then it would make little-to-no difference due to the tire not holding any air and its sides being completely open
- General Motors (GM) plans to restart its Chevrolet Bolt production on April 4, the company confirmed on Tuesday
- Michelin’s airless tire model – the Uptis – is more resilient than the average tire when it comes to having a blowout and requires almost zero maintenance
Michelin is set to take the tire market by storm after announcing that it has been working with General Motors on developing airless tires that will be modeled and sold on the next-generation Chevrolet Bolt electric car in the coming years.
The revolutionary invention – the Uptis Prototype or ‘Unique Puncture-proof Tire System’ – from the French tire-maker could mark the decline of over 130 years of traditionally refilling air in regular car tires.
‘We want to bring the next generation of the Chevrolet Bolt with airless tires,’ Alexis Garcin, president of Michelin North America, told CNN Business, ‘and it’s going to happen now in the next three to five years.’
Michelin had created another airless tire for golf carts and lawnmowers called the Tweel, which features a rubberized outside tread with high-strength poly-resin ‘spokes.’ The Uptis has similar traits as the assembly of an aluminum wheel, and will have rubber and fiberglass composite spokes, as well as an outside rubber tread.
Its design will rely on flexible ribs that spring into action, similar to the way pneumatic, or air-filled, tires work.
If a car’s tire tread is pierced, then it would make little to no difference due to the tire not holding any air and its sides being completely open.
GM plans to restart its Chevrolet Bolt production on April 4, the company confirmed on Tuesday after recalling its entire fleet for the car model in August due to the risk of the high-voltage battery pack catching fire. A Bolt starts at around $32,000.
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Michelin is set to release airless tires that will be modeled by General Motors’ electric Chevy Bolt in the next ‘three to five years,’ according to the president of Michel North America
The sides of the tire will be completely open and its tire tread will be flat. The French tire-manufacturer has airless tires on law mowers and golf karts for the past few years before producing some for the automobile industry
The issue occurred when Bolt EVs were nearly or fully charged, and GM has counted more than 18 suspected fires based on its own investigations from last year.
However, the American car manufacturer will now hope to have turned a page after betting on Michelin’s airless Uptis Prototype in the coming years.
It said the Uptis aligns with its future vision for zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion as it is more resilient than the average tire when it comes to having a blowout. In fact, the tires do not require as much raw material to be made. They also last longer and cannot be over- or under-inflated.
‘General Motors is excited about the possibilities that Uptis presents, and we are thrilled to collaborate with Michelin on this breakthrough technology,’ said GM’s senior vice president for Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, Steve Kiefer.
‘Uptis is an ideal fit for propelling the automotive industry into the future and a great example of how our customers benefit when we collaborate and innovate with our supplier partners.’
Michelin said fleet owners and professional vehicles drivers would benefit from the new tires due to its durability and requiring little-to-no maintenance.
The tire company has been working on coming up with the latest airless tire technology for quite some time and made a breakthrough when it created the airless Tweel tires for golf carts and lawnmowers that use similar technology to the Uptis.
For now, the revolutionary wheels will be introduced as part of an option when interested in leasing a Chevy Bolt EV – a car that starts just shy of $32,000.
Its starting price suggests that the airless tires won’t be limited to the upper end of the market.
Michelin first made its name in the late 1800s when it introduced pneumatic (air-filled) tires for bicycles. It was also one of the first tire companies to produce and place them on automobiles.
In 1899, Belgian car manufacturer Jenatzy introduced its Jamais Contente rocket-shaped model using Michelin tires. It was the first vehicle to break over 100 kilometers per hour (68. 5 mph).
The company, also famous for its mascot – Bibendum, more popularly known as the Michelin Man – has gone on to be part of other record-breaking speed attempts by sports car manufacturers such as Bugatti.
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