According to a study, 20 percent of the tyres produced yearly are discarded due to flats and rapid pressure loss or irregular wear and tear caused by poor tyre pressure. That's equivalent to a total of 200 million tyres that don't finish their intended purposes. In other words, that's a lot of waste in terms of costs, materials, and energy used to make the tyres.
That sustainability problem is the main focus of Michelin in creating the Unique Puncture-proof Tyre System prototype, also known as Uptis. Officially introduced in 2019 but has a development timeline that goes way back to a decade, the Michelin Uptis is nearing its public launch but here's a preview while being worn by a Mini Electric, courtesy of YouTube's Mr. JWW.
Gallery: Michelin Uptis Airless Tyres
In the video, which you can watch at the top of this page, Mr. JWW interviewed Cyrille Roget, Michelin's Group Technical and Scientific Communication Director. Roget is pretty enthusiastic about the French tire brand's innovation and shared some insight about the tire's construction.
According to him, the Uptis is made up of belts and spokes, the latter being made of several thin and strong fibreglass to carry the weight of the vehicle. To protect its invention, Michelin apparently filed 50 patents for its development.
Mr. JWW then had a test drive with the Uptis-fitted Mini Electric, which is kind of a big deal as he's one of the first outside Michelin to test it on a car. It's a sublime concept, and we couldn't help but imagine the product's public reception once it hits the market in its target launch year in 2024.
Of note, the Michelin Uptis won't be the first attempt into creating airless tyres as a concept but at this rate, it's highly probable that it will be the first to be offered for public use.