Michelin: Energy Tyres Have Saved 9.5 billion litres of fuel since 1992
Since Michelin launched “Energy” tyres in 1992, the products have prevented production of 23 million tonnes of CO2 and saved 9.5 billion litres of fuel, according to the company. The impressive environmental statistics were explained in a presentation made by Michelin to delegates attending the International Business Day immediately before the opening of the British International Motor Show at the end of July. The figures also hark back to other impressive claims the manufacturer made earlier in the year, ruffling a few feathers as it went.
During the presentation, Michelin representatives took the opportunity to reiterate its controversial claims that some of its passenger car tyres have been proven to last at least 25 per cent longer than any other brand. In theory this level of longevity can mean fewer tyres are required during the life of the vehicle, thus saving energy in manufacture and disposal. However other leading manufacturers have approached Michelin, questioning the veracity of this specific claim.
Tyres & Accessories has learnt that following the initial publication of Michelin’s “25 per cent” advertisements in April, Goodyear executives went as far as approaching Michelin’s UK management and saying they “believed the campaign was misleading.” There are even reports that competing manufacturers wanted to take the claims to the advertising standards authority but were told, “the campaign has already ended.”
Goodyear managing directors of three of the company’s other European subsidiaries are believed to have followed suit and approached their opposite numbers in a similar manner.
The dissatisfaction amongst competing manufacturers centres on Michelin’s statement that its tyres continue to out perform rival products through the whole life of the tyre. According to one competitor, the test results Michelin quoted in relation to this are only based on mathematical predictions after 10,000 kilometres of recorded tyre wear.
Reducing CO2 production
The British International Motor Show presentation saw Peter Snelling, Michelin head of communications UK and Ireland, and Dave Crinson, the company’s sales manager for car fleets, emphasise that substantial savings could be achieved by all drivers selecting the appropriate fuel saving tyres for their car.
Better tyre maintenance, especially regular pressure checks, was also shown to save substantial amounts of fuel, reduce wear and improve safety.
“If all the 110 million cars in Europe were running on green tyres we could save three billion litres of fuel each year and reduce the CO2 emissions by 7.5 million tonnes at the same time,” reports Mr Snelling. “If the road-haulage industry fitted Michelin Energy 2 truck tyres they would save 6 per cent of the fuel consumed in road haulage in Europe and that is easily enough to pay for the tyres.”
Michelin was the first tyre manufacturer to introduce silica into the rubber compound to lower the rolling resistance – the “friction” between the tyre and the road surface – which accounts for 20 per cent of a car’s fuel consumption just to keep the vehicle moving forward. For a multi-wheel truck this figure is reportedly 30 per cent.
Michelin has a worldwide programme to reduce the energy consumed and the emissions produced at all its manufacturing plants. It is the first tyre manufacturer to make tyres using wind turbine generated electricity to power its factory in Dundee, Scotland.
To further highlight this commitment to sustainable mobility, Michelin’s Challenge Bibendum is the annual global showcase event founded and supported by the company to highlight the latest advances in vehicle technology, alternative fuels and products. These include the Michelin Proxima concept tyre that boast a further 25 per cent reduction in rolling resistance and a 20 per cent reduction in weight.