Airless tires: Why you’ll want this game-changing technology

It’s nearly 2022 and we have phones that survive water damage, folding digital screens and so much more. Yet, rubber tires filled with air remain the go-to way to help a car roll around. That’s the way it’s been for decades but it’s going to change soon. When 2024 rolls around, we may finally see a revolution in tire technology, thanks to airless tires.

Michelin is one of several tiremakers that have been developing airless tires but they seemed as unlikely to become a reality as GM’s early vision of self-driving cars. Now, however, the two companies are putting a pin in the calendar to have airless tires on the market by 2024.

The first thing you notice about the airless Michelin Uptis, or Unique Puncture-proof Tire System tires is that you can see through them. Glass-fiber reinforced plastic vanes support the tread rather than air pressure.

From there, the benefits tumble forth: Nails become minor annoyances and sidewall cuts that usually render a tire unrepairable are no longer possible. There would be no need to check tire inflation (you’ve probably ignored my admonitions to do that anyway) and we’d say goodbye to spare tires, jacks and inflation kits that most drivers view as mysterious objects anyway. Blowouts that cause thousands of crashes a year would be impossible.