Reader Question: Uptis Tires?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply! 

John asks: Curious about your thoughts on the Michelin Uptis (airless) tire. It strikes me as another goofy innovation that no one asked for and won’t address any problems people are actually facing!

My reply: These tires – which have flexible (and exposed/unpressurized) cells in a lattice-style arrangement are interesting  from an engineering point of view and are puncture proof, but have other problems – such as those exposed lattice cells becoming filled with frozen snow/slush or mud (which would dramatically – and negatively – affect handling/ride). They probably also give different cornering characteristics, though I don’t know because I’ve never tried them. I do know they are ugly – and that will be a huge problem as far as customer acceptance, even if they function as well or better than conventional pneumatic tires.

Finally, they address a problem which hardly exists – flat tires. They still happen, of course – but not commonly. Most people go years without dealing with this. Modern tires are very hardy; and there are also run-flat tires – and tire inflator/repair kits, etc.

One wonders, too, what the cost of these new tires would be at the retail level. I doubt they would cost less – another problem.

Of course, the real “problem” behind the development of these tires is the shibboleth of “sustainability.” The claim is made that these tires can be made using more recycled material (or less energy) and are more easily disposed of than pneumatic tires.

As OJ says, look out!

Anything “green” and “sustainable” invariably means it cost more and doesn’t work as well – from low-flush toilets to electric cars.

I expect the same here.

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. I recall seeing a video test/assessment of these tires years ago. I’ll just say they failed and let it go at that since I don’t recall all the problems but it seems like they require a lot of power, reducing gas mileage.

  2. A gimmick which was application specific. Originally conceived for extra-terrestrial land rovers and later adapted for large earth-movers and slow-moving all-terrain diggers. Practical road-auto use presents several issues as Eric mentions above, lol!

    • Considering the fact that most tires will wear out the tread long before they pick up a nail, etc, it seems to be a big waste of money. “Sustainable Mobility” is an absolute crock of BS until they invent a tread that doesn’t wear out. Just another “snazzy looking gimmick” used for virtue signalling, if you ask me.

  3. Not all low-flush toilets suck; in fact, mine works BETTER than the old high flush toilet. I have an American Standard that NEVER clogs. You can find videos on YouTube where the engineers flushed 18 golf balls through it…


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