why you can’t (yet) buy them

Michelin is finally launching its airless tires on French roads. If this technology is very innovative and promising, it will not yet be accessible to the general public for the moment. But it will be possible to see it in action if you keep your eyes open!

When we talk about automobile pollution, we often think of exhaust gases. But other elements of cars are also harmful to the environment, such as the steel used for the bodywork, the production of the battery, but also the tires. A recent study pointed the finger at the fine particles emitted by the latter, not to mention the concerns related to recycling.

An innovative solution

Indeed, and as the website of the Ministry of Ecological Transition reports, there are no less than 59 million tires manufactured each year only in France. In particular, wear and tear and punctures, which require motorists to change their tires regularly. Fortunately, equipment manufacturers are working on solutions to reduce the impact of their products on the environment.

This is particularly the case with Michelin, which has been working for several years now development of innovative, airless tires. The latter bear the name of Uptis, which is simply the abbreviation of Unique Punctureproof Tire System. Their particularity? They don’t need to be inflated, since they don’t use air at all. They have a load-bearing structure made up of flexible CVR (Glass-Resin Composite) slats.

A solution that requires almost no maintenance and above all no re-inflation. Enough to reduce the number of tires dumped, as well as the budget to replace them when they burst. In September 2021, Michelin announced that its Uptis was soon ready for marketing. But it wasn’t until March 2022 that the company announced a market launch date.

At the beginning of the year, the first copies finally arrived on the road, as part of a partnership with the carrier DHL. This took the form of a major experiment in the streets of Singapore. This seems to have been conclusive, because the Uptis is finally ready to make its arrival on the French market. But there is still a but.

Not for now

As announced by Michelin in its press release, the first examples of its airless tire will be put into service by next year. But unfortunately not everyone can afford it. In effect, these will initially be reserved for La Poste cars, since no less than 40 utilities will be equipped with it, and this only in Hauts-de-France. However, three vehicles have already been in circulation since June 27.

This fleet will officiate in the Lesquin, Valenciennes and Douai sectors and will be used to deliver the packages. You may come across them if you live in this area. Open your eyes! This partnership between the company and the public service will last for two years. These tires will therefore not be not marketed to the general publicwhile the equipment manufacturer does not announce any date on this subject.

This technology has many advantages for the environment, but also for safety. There is no longer any risk of bad pressure, and road holding is therefore optimal at all times. For companies, it also reduces downtime and costly maintenance operations to increase productivity. But Michelin is not the only equipment manufacturer to develop this technology.

This is also the case for Goodyear, which installed its airless tires on a Tesla Model 3 in 2021 to test their performance. The two companies are also working on standard erasers that are more environmentally friendly because giving pride of place to recycled elements. Just like Continental, which still has a small head start.


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