Making tires for electric vehicles is a relentless exercise in commitment. Too many sticks and the car won’t travel so far loaded; too little, he will slip silently off the road. To add to the equation is that these vehicles are heavy.
Michelin, however, says he has finally perfected the mix after 30 years of working with rubber recipes. If the EV Range goes up a bit in the coming months, battery chemists don’t deserve all the praise; save for tire wizards.
(Also read: Chinese demand returns to Michelin tire manufacturer growth)
Next: they want to turn the same tire into a data engine and, while they’re at it, they’re completely recyclable.
Hyperdrive has caught up with Michelin North American president and president Alexis Garcin to talk about the company’s R&D blitz and how it is preparing for a massive wave of electric vehicles.
How does your vision change with an electric vehicle?
It has roughly the same complexity of making tires for a combustion car, but brings it to another level. You need to ensure safety, but you need to minimize resistance because it has a direct link to fuel consumption. High-tech materials were becoming lighter and lighter, so if the car is gaining more weight, we need to make sure the tires don’t. That’s really a subtle mix.
So are these tires specifically designed for EVs?
We introduced e.PRIMACY in March, which will come for larger SUVs in the US this year. The tire adds 7% of autonomy to electric vehicles, as it is optimized to reduce road resistance without compromising performance. . That’s the technology we’ve mastered and we’re expanding.
The second example is the newly released Pilot Sport. It’s a tire for electric sports cars and adds 37 miles of range because it optimizes race endurance.
What is R&D like now?
We have massively accelerated investments in what we call the distribution of high-tech materials. These open us up to new domains, such as aerospace, medicine and other industries. Our vision is to have a completely renewable and recyclable tire by 2050. Today, approximately 30% of tires are renewable and recyclable.
Is the size of today’s vehicles a challenge?
We need to constantly adapt the production system to this. Ten years ago, 16 and 17, I would say we were mass-producing 18-inch products; today we have a range of 20, 22 inches and we are increasing the production of 24 inch tires. Has the adoption of EV changed your sales and distribution strategy?
Personally, I think what is happening right now is a profound transformation of the automotive industry and is driving car manufacturers to think of a new business model. The current value is likely to shift from buying a car and getting maintenance to some services you buy every month or packages you can integrate every 6 months, depending on the new features and technologies that are being developed. We started in 2012 as the first manufacturer to put an RFID chip on all medium and heavy truck tires. By 2023, all car tires will have an RFID chip, which we believe is a nice business model. There are so many offerings we can build around tires because it’s the only part of the car that touches the road at the end of the day.
Can you give an example?
I see RFID as an enabler. There is no information to store; it’s like your social security number. When it’s in the cloud, every time the tires show up for maintenance, you can track mileage and then send some information to the driver: ‘By the way, it might be time for a turn’ or ‘You should be very close to the minimum tread depth and change your tires you would think so. ‘ It’s the kind of information we can easily share and spread today. It’s even more valuable for B2B customers. If you have a fleet of 10,000 vehicles, it’s a gold mine because it’s a great source of efficiency.
Are you talking to motorists earlier in the process?
I would say so. They need a strong partner to meet the challenges of vehicle design: autonomy, weight, noise, and everything we’ve just talked about. Each of them may have a different approach to post-market strategies. Post-Market [warranties, long-term service, extra parts ]- will be completely renewed in the next five or 10 years.
When you have these conversations with Tesla or Rivian, how do you personalize them?
When we talk [manufacturers], for the most part, the tires developed are made specifically for these cars. Because cars are so special, because of the interaction of weight, torque, and vehicle chassis, each is different. Most tires are very, very tuned and determined by the model. It is much more complex than it seems.
This story has been published without text changes from a wireless agency feed.
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