Michelin Active Wheel Spectacle at Paris Motorshow
Visitors to the Paris Motorshow are witnessing what Michelin developers hope is a vision of the future of the wheel, as two cars fitted with the French manufacturer’s Active Wheel (instead of the traditional engine, suspension and transmission fixtures) are presented for the first time. The Venturi Volage is a roadster with an electrical drive motor freed from the constraints of the traditional prerequisites, while the new WILL – built in partnership with Heuliez, Michelin and Orange – is an electric car capable of competing with traditional cars in addition to providing a practical solution to road transportation concerns in the areas of energy resources, urban pollution and personal safety.
The Active Wheel has been enabled through the substantial reduction of component size, making it possible – Michelin says – to “reinvent the wheel”. The energy that powers the integrated motor is always electric, whether it comes from a lithium ion or other type of battery, a fuel cell, and/or super-capacitors. In all cases, these power sources offer two important benefits—zero pollution and optimal comfort—since vehicles equipped with the wheel emit no greenhouse gases. The WILL’s two engines housed in the front wheels make the car extremely responsive. As for the Venturi Volage, with its four motorised Active Wheels, it offers impressive performance in the areas of acceleration and road holding.
This dynamism is underpinned by a suspension system that sets new standards in road holding and comfort. With the Michelin Active Wheel, the vehicle’s suspension is no longer mechanical but electrical. This unique system features extremely fast response time—just 3/1000ths of a second and all pitching and rolling motions are automatically corrected.
Development of the Michelin Active Wheel began 12 years ago. The wheel and fuel-efficient tyres—a segment in which Michelin pioneered back in 1992—both reflect the same corporate vision and priorities, shining through the research and development department.