Michelin launches Nnw Uptis air-free tiresOctober 18, 2019
So how much will GM and all this runaway tire cost?
“Well, that just doesn’t look right.” When you are used to looking at something that has not changed radically in more than a century, a radical switch will be unpleasant. How to find a digital display in Big Ben or a palm tree standing in the living room at Christmas.
Michelin Uptis airless tires cause a similar reaction. The side walls are more concave than convex. Weird! You can see through them. Stranger! From a practical point of view, they are designed to eliminate air-related disasters such as emissions, leaks and simply filling them. At the same time, they are designed to provide comparable driving and handling characteristics of a conventional or pneumatic tire.
All this sounds very good, and if you expect the “but” to go through the pipeline, the only thing at this stage is that they are still a few years from the market. Although the goal is shown on this 2019 Chevy Bolt EV, the goal is for Michelin airless tires (the Uptis name is not indicated in the stone) to appear on some future General Motors products “no sooner than in 2024.”
If and when this happens, it will be the culmination of a journey that began 20 years ago when Michelin senior product engineer Steve Kron began working with a non-pneumatic tire colleague (the fancy word for “airless”). The end result was Tweel, which is currently offered for commercial and outdoor equipment such as wheel loaders, lawn mowers, ATVs and golf carts. However, Tweel did not intend to reduce it for road vehicles that have significantly higher requirements in terms of weight, speed, traction and durability.
Among the various accomplishments, Kron says, the breakthrough came with the development of Uptis rubber and glass multifilament composite. When cutting and viewed from the side, the lower part of the sidewall closest to the wheel is filled with white dots surrounded by rubber. These points are the ends of glass multifilament yarns that wrap around the tire. They take the place of steel belts and fiber cords found in a typical radial tire. The distinctive lateral V-shaped “spoke” pattern of the tire also differs from what you see on the twill.
According to Kron, the unsprung weight and amount of material used to create the Uptis is larger than a regular pneumatic tire, but comparable to Run-Flat, which uses a rigid side wall that allows you to travel a certain distance, losing air. However, in this case Run-Flat will need to be replaced. With a non-pneumatic tire such as Uptis, punctures do not matter – just pull this nail and go. There is no need for costly tire replacement or for the replacement of expensive used tires and as an environmental side effect, with fewer damaged tires there will be less waste. Cron also says that Uptis tires can be repaired in theory, although this particular improvement has not yet been improved.
From a control point of view, Kron described the resulting dynamics of the vehicle as “different” from the one used to with a pneumatic tire, whether normal or even. It was not clear what sensations would be felt outside the atypical noise, but it was clear that drivers might find the overall driving experience unusual. This does not mean that it will be bad – to drive an EV like Bolt is unusual, but this is normal. In any case, Kron says that the lateral stiffness of the Uptis is far superior to a conventional pneumatic tire, which can mean good things to grip.
In fact, GM is interested in this technology because of the possibility of car sharing. Eliminating an important element of vehicle maintenance such as tire pressure will facilitate the safe storage of the vehicle on the road for a longer period of time and for more paying users. This is a material and technical and financial incentive for the introduction of technology.
So how much will GM and all this runaway tire cost? Michelin says she is aiming for a price tag comparable to mileage, which may require between $ 40 and $ 65, a premium per tire compared to conventional tires. This seems perfectly fair when you consider how rarely you have to replace them. Of course, who knows how much tread restoration will cost if and when Michelin finds out.
Another element to consider is that the wheel and tire are combined into one. DUB Magazine will not like it, neither car designers who like to pack large, fashionable wheels in their creations, nor dealers who like to pay for them. There is also something that can be said about aesthetics because, well, that just doesn’t look right.
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