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Michelin: a Key Partner in SolarCar Races all around the World

Michelin has been involved in solar car races since the very beginning, with the first solar race organized in Australia in 1987. Since then, Michelin embarked on a 25-year mission for energy efficiency, assisting thousands of passionate students from all over the world in taking up the challenge to work for a better mobility. For Michelin, the solar car races are all about fostering and supporting the innovation and technologies to developing new approaches of sustainable mobility.

“Ensuring sustainable mobility through innovation, whilst not sacrificing other areas of performance is at the heart of Michelin’s global mission,” says Damien Hallez, Technical Communication Manager for the Michelin Group.

“The MICHELIN Total Performance strategy is what drives Michelin research and development. It requires our engineers to work on improving simultaneously performance factors, widely considered to be irreconcilable, thanks to Michelin's leading technologies,” Mr Hallez continues.

This continuous effort has resulted in tyres that are safe, long lasting and - of particular importance to the solar car races – very energy efficient. Thanks to fitting very low rolling resistance tyres to these solar vehicles, the teams reduce the energy required to move the car, allowing them to travel further using less power.

MICHELIN energy efficient tyres: technology transferred from solar cars to your car

Over the past decade of using the MICHELIN Radial and MICHELIN Radial Solar tyre ranges, solar car teams competing in solar competitions all around the world, such as the World Solar Challenge, have relayed their technical findings, including wear rates, temperatures and overall performance, back to Michelin.

The more than 6,600 people who work in the Michelin Research & Development department receive this feedback from the teams. This information is then used by the R&D team in the development and enhancement of the passenger car range of MICHELIN tyres.

Michelin introduced its first green (energy saving) tyre in 1992 and it has continued to be the industry leader in this technology. Michelin constantly strives to reduce energy (fuel) use, while simultaneously improving other tyre performances such as safety, longevity, silence and comfort.

Over the last 20 years Michelin has doubled the energy efficiency of its tyres while making equally impressive improvements in safety and longevity. This has been achieved through a number of different innovations, but by far the most significant is the integration of silica in the rubber compound. This has resulted in a reduction of the tyres’ rolling resistance by 35%, which in turn reduced fuel consumption by 5% for a vehicle driven at 90 km/h.

The most recent evolution of MICHELIN green tyres offer is the MICHELIN ENERGY XM2 tyre. This tyre lasts 20% longer* than other leading competitors, and it has specific features which contribute to improved longevity: alternating bridging technology, full depth sipes, and sipes with alternating bridging.

MICHELIN Radial Solar 95/80 R16: the Ultimate Energy Efficient Tyre

Michelin’s latest solar tyre, the MICHELIN Radial Solar features a grooved tread pattern, helping to simultaneously improve safety and performance of solar cars in all weather conditions.

The MICHELIN Radial Solar offers an extremely low rolling resistance, with a coefficient of around 1.3 kg/t. This is equivalent to climbing a permanent slope of 0.13% when many passenger car tyres today have a rolling resistance equivalent to climbing a permanent slope of 1%.

The energy efficiency of the present MICHELIN Radial Solar tyre is approximately 7 to 8 times better than the average passenger car and is the most energy efficient tyre in the world.

 

cRR*
in kg/t

Equivalent slope in %

Vehicle weight in kg

km for 1 kWh

Ratio

MICHELIN Radial Solar tyre

1,3

0,13%

250

1129

7,7

Average passenger car tyre

10

1%

250

147

*cRR = Rolling Resistance coefficient