BERLIN — The publisher of Auto Bild, one of Europe's largest consumer automotive magazines, has recognized Group Michelin's Uptis non-pneumatic tire/wheel concept with its "Golden Steering Wheel" award, symbolic of the automotive innovation of the year.
Stefan Bratzel, jury member and director of the center of automotive management at the university of applied sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, described the concept tire as a "breakthrough innovation with practical utility for motorists."
The Uptis, he noted, can make "a significant contribution to improving road safety, eliminating the frequent annoyance of flat tires and having positive environmental effects."
Anish K. Taneja, president of Michelin region Europe North, said: "The award is an incentive for us but at the same time a commitment to continue to research innovative technologies and to develop exactly the products our customers need."
Developed in cooperation with General Motors Co., the Uptis non-pneumatic tire/wheel hybrid is based on the fundamentals of Michelin's Tweel tire/wheel product, introduced at the 2005 Detroit Auto Show.
Like the Tweel, the Uptis uses resin-reinforced fiberglass spokes as load-bearing elements. The wheel hub is integrated and the rubber tread is molded onto the cylindrical platform that attaches to the end of the spokes.
This makes it more puncture-resistant than conventional tires, offering a particularly high degree of mobility and reliability, Michelin claims.
The Golden Steering Wheel award is awarded annually by Axel Springer Verlag, publisher of "Bild am Sonntag" and the European Auto Bild Group.