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General Motors is looking to reinvent its wheels.
The automaker is partnering with Michelin to develop a revolutionary non-pneumatic wheel and tire combination for use on production cars and trucks.
Codenamed Uptis -- an acronym for “Unique Puncture-proof Tire System” – it uses a flexible composite matrix instead of a chamber of air to bear the weight of a vehicle while also absorbing imperfections in the surface. The main advantages are a reduction in blowouts and premature wear due to improper inflation.
Michelin offers similar products it calls Tweels for lawnmowers, skid-steers and ATVs, but GM is the first automaker it is working with to put them on the road.
According to Michelin, they weigh less than a traditional run-flat tire and wheel combination and that a driver won't notice any difference in performance.
GM said it will soon begin real-world test on a fleet of Chevrolet Bolt EVs with an eye on offering them as factory equipment on some models by 2024.