Michelin has been testing airless tyres for electric vehicles for years. Although they are not yet ready for production, executives believe they would be an excellent fit for autonomous vehicles and law enforcement.

Michelin senior vice president Bruno de Feraudy stated in a recently posted interview with The Drive that European law enforcement agencies have expressed interest in airless tyres due to the fact, unlike standard pneumatic tyres, they can’t be shot out during car chases. De Feraudy also confirmed that Michelin has tested its Uptis airless tyre at speeds up to 130 mph with police use in mind.

GM and Michelin Uptis prototype airless tyre

The CEO of Michelin, Florent Menegaux, told The Travel that airless tyres will be limited to “certain types of applications,” which could include autonomous vehicles. Again, the primary benefit would be preventing punctures so that travellers would not need to change a flat tyre.

Menegaux stated in the same interview that Michelin has had dialogues with both Tesla and General Motors regarding the testing of its Uptis tyres. Although not mentioned in this interview, an airless tyre could meet the larger durability and performance standards that Michelin and Hyundai have established. In 2022, the two companies announced a collaboration to develop environmentally favourable EV tyres.

GM and Michelin Uptis prototype airless tyre

Michelin’s current design for airless tyres harkens back to the Uptis Prototype it debuted in 2019, indicating that it could be offered in an EV as early as 2024 (and is currently being evaluated on a Bolt EV). However, the executives interviewed by The Generate were unable to confirm the 2024 launch date.

Other companies have also considered airless tyres. In 2017, Toyota and Sumitomo revealed a fuel-cell concept with airless tyres. Nonetheless, despite the fact that airless tyres have prospective benefits and a futuristic feel, some of the innovation in the close to future could also have to deal with the expanding problem of microplastic air pollution from automobile tyres.