Letting The Air Out

Michelin announces airless tire. NBC 7 Responds asks an expert what consumers should expect

Talk about reinventing the wheel. Michelin Automotive Tires, in partnership with General Motors, has done just that.

The French-based tire manufacturer has unveiled an airless tire, immune from punctures and blowouts.

Michelin plans to complete its rollout of the “Uptis” and introduce the airless tires on passenger models by 2024.

“It’s the future get used to it,” says Mark Takahashi, a Senior Editor with Edmunds.com.

Takahashi has researched the push towards airless tires since Michelin first prototype back in 2004. Takahashi says the move is a step in the right direction.

“It makes perfect sense,” said Takahashi. “There may be drawbacks here and there but they really don’t hold a candle to the advantages that airless tires have." 

Among those advantages, Takahashi says drivers won’t have to worry about flats, potholes, and other unexpected tire problems. But that’s not all.

“Another big advantage to the airless tire is the reduction of old tires going into the landfill.”

So, what about cost?

Takahashi says all things factored in, the airless tires will likely save consumers money in the long run.

“When you consider the cost of wheel and tire, as well as replacement, it might not be so hard for Michelin to meet that price point. In fact, it has great potential to actually save money.”

But don’t expect the airless tires to be available for all types of vehicles when they are released.

“Luxury and high performance vehicles, there are a lot of loads that go into those tires that regular passenger or economical cars don’t have to deal with,” said Takahashi.

“But, Michelin has been at this for a long time. They are not going to put anything out there that is not ready for prime-time.”

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