Cyrille Roget, Michelin Group scientific and innovation expert, tells us about it.
You call UPTIS a “Revolution.” Why is that ?
For the past 130 years, Michelin has been constantly innovating to improve all tire performances (longevity, noise, safety, fuel efficiency, etc.). But until UPTIS, none of our work had ever produced a satisfactory solution to punctures. UPTIS is currently the only solution on the market that is puncture-proof without sacrificing its other performances. With this tire, drivers won’t need to keep a spare tire or tire repair kit in the trunk. Because UPTIS is puncture-proof and doesn’t experience any other pressure-related issues, fleets and professionals can use it to optimize productivity. It offers drivers peace of mind and improves mobility in areas where roads are in poor condition. That means India and China are two major markets for UPTIS to conquer. It is also an ideal solution for the cars of the future, whether they are self-driving or electric.
What makes this innovation a major step forward for sustainable mobility ?
UPTIS is the incarnation of “VISION”, the avant-garde concept presented at the 2017 Movin’on summit based on four pillars of innovation: it is airless, connected, treads that can be restored via 3D printing, and is sustainable (renewable, biosourced materials). It proves that Michelin’s ambitions for sustainable mobility are achievable. Today, an estimated 20% of tires are scrapped prematurely due to a puncture or irregular wear caused by pressure loss. UPTIS fixes that problem with its airless design.
What’s the next major step ?
Our goal - which we share with our partner General Motors, with whom we will be co-developing this new airless technology - is to make UPTIS accessible to the general public by 2024. So we are in the acceleration phase for performance tests in real-world conditions
Materials equivalent to 200 Eiffel towers every year!
Today 20% of tires are scrapped prematurely due to a puncture (12%) or irregular wear (8%, due to incorrect pressure), the equivalent of 200 million tires or 2 million tons of materials* - the weight of 200 Eiffel towers every year.
*Internal scrapyard study (2012-2015) based on a sample of 135,000 tires and extrapolated globally (est. 1 billion end of life tires every year).