French tyre maker Michelin is tying up with DHL Express to trial its Uptis airless tyre. It will be fitted on nearly 50 vans in Singapore by the end of 2023. The pilot programme begins with the first vehicles making the first delivery trips in January. Michelin says the programme is one year ahead of schedule.
The Uptis prototype is a puncture-proof wheel/tyre assembly with no compressed air and is intended for cars and light vans. The air has been replaced by a revolutionary structure capable of supporting the vehicle. This ensures the wheel’s robustness and guarantees driving comfort and safety. It was designed as a plug-and-play solution that allows users to navigate conveniently and not worry about road hazards impacting the tires. It also limits the number of tyres scrapped due to punctures.
Michelin adds that DHL can optimise its fleet’s productivity and ensure business continuity, as tyre pressure issues and punctures are eliminated. This will lower the frequency of tyre replacement, leading to less wastage.
“As a pioneer in green logistics, we are excited to partner with Michelin to trial its airless tyres on our vehicles in Singapore. We have since converted 80 vehicles in our ground fleet to electric vans to drive sustainability efforts here. This collaboration marks another milestone for us as we set out to green our last mile operations and achieve net-zero carbon emissions across the DHL network globally,” says Christopher Ong, Managing Director at DHL Express Singapore.
“Michelin Uptis is a breakthrough innovation in the tire field. This results from some 50 patents linked to the tyre’s structure and high-tech materials. It demonstrates Michelin’s capacity for innovation in favour of safer mobility that is better for the environment,” declared Bruno De Feraudy, Director of OEM activities for the Michelin Group.
Airless technology is the key to Michelin’s vision of a fully sustainable tyre by 2050. Today, 20% of tyres are scrapped prematurely due to flats and blowouts (12%) or irregular wear and tear caused by poor tyre pressure (8%). Based on internal research, Michelin projects that Uptis airless technology could prevent the premature scrapping of up to 200 million tyres/year worldwide or 2 million tonnes of material – material savings roughly equivalent to the weight of 200 Eiffel Towers.