General Motors and Michelin are teaming up to develop an airless, puncture-proof tire which will ultimately reduce the use of raw materials, energy for production and emissions linked to the manufacture of spare tires. The Michelin Uptis (Unique Puncture-proof Tire System) eliminates flats and blowouts, leading to significant potential for reducing the use of raw materials and waste as the need for spare tires and replacement tires is vastly lessened.
The tire, which GM aims to introduce on passenger vehicles as early as 2024, also reduces the need for routine maintenance like pressure checks and inspection for punctures and leaks. The tire also lasts longer by eliminating irregular wear and tear caused by over- or under-inflation.
Michelin says 200 million tires are scrapped each year due to blowouts and irregular wear.
The prototype tire’s potential for reducing the use of raw materials and waste contributes to GM’s vision for “a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion,” the automaker says.
In 2017, GM committed to only source only sustainable natural rubber in tires. While the company is still early on this sustainable sourcing journey, its key suppliers – including Michelin, Bridgestone and Goodyear – have implemented policies and procurement requirements for sustainable rubber.
The commitment will help the company reduce its risk related to the sourcing and long-term availability of one of its key commodities, says GM’s senior VP of global purchasing and supply chain, Steve Kiefer.