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Michelin, GMC Developing Airless Tire To Eliminate Flats, Blowouts

MONTREAL (CBS Local) -- Michelin and General Motors are looking to reinvent the wheel with a new airless wheel prototype that could make flat tires and blowouts a thing of the past.

The Uptis Prototype, which stands for "Unique Puncture-proof Tire System," was unveiled Tuesday at the Movin'On Summit in Montreal. The prototype looks like a conventional pneumatic tire, but has treads in the middle and no sidewalls.

"Uptis is an ideal fit for propelling the automotive industry into the future, and a great example of how our customers benefit when we collaborate and innovate with our supplier partners," said Steve Kiefer, GM's head of global purchasing and supply chain.

GM and Michelin believe the Uptis can improve highway safety because it cannot go flat or experience a blowout and does not require maintenance of air pressure.

GM said the tire is also environmentally friendly because it uses fewer raw materials and lasts longer than traditional tires. Michelin said that 200 million tires are "scrapped prematurely" every year because of damage, such as blowouts and irregular wear caused by improper tire pressure.

Michelin and GM will begin testing the Uptis Prototype on public roads in Michigan later this year on a fleet of Chevrolet Bolt vehicles.

Michelin hopes the new tire will be available for purchase beginning in 2024.

The price for the tire is not set yet, the Detroit Free Press reported. The price will depend on application and volume, GM said.

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