The lack of spare wheel space may not be a problem for future generations of electric cars, a new technology for tires that do not require air completely eliminating the risk of breakdown.
Designed by Michelin and designed to equip passenger vehicles, Uptis (Unique Puncture-proof Tire System) tires replace the pressurized air chamber with a flexible structure made of composite materials, capable of absorbing uneven roads without the risk of structural failure in the event of its perforation. accidental cutting.
First of all, it must be said that the final version of Uptis tires will also cover the sides with a rubber coating very similar to that found in conventional tires. The aesthetic aspect can be customized by applying decorative covers, the support structure based on elastic spokes remaining hidden inside.
Made from a mixture of resins and fiberglass, the new type of tire is designed for use at highway speeds and should have a service life at least equal to the life of traditional tires, with a few major differences. For example, in the case of non-factory-fitted vehicles with this type of tire, the rim will also need to be replaced. In fact, the concept of the rim and the separate tire disappears completely, the rim part will also integrate the structural part of the tire, which replaces the inner tube. On the other hand, although the new type of car rim will probably be more expensive on the initial purchase, the “replacement” part of the tire could become considerably cheaper and with much less used material to throw away or recycle. Basically, instead of replacing the entire tire, you will only be able to change the part that comes in direct contact with the asphalt. Of course, specialized car vulcanizations will be needed, equipped with equipment to facilitate this operation.
Ideally, the resistance structure of the tire will have a lifespan several times longer than the part that actually comes into contact with the asphalt, and future owners may go through several tread changes before the whole assembly is replaced. necessary.
According to Michelin engineers, the absorption of asphalt bumps and vibration damping is as good as conventional tires, the elastic structure can be optimized by choosing between comfort and a more sporty road holding.
Unless there are other unforeseen delays, the first models of electric cars equipped with tires that do not require inflation could be delivered by General Motors around 2024. Around the same time we could find in the offers of stores and Uptis tires produced by Michelin, ready to equip selected models of cars that did not come with this technology in the factory equipment.