Michelin launches X Line truck range and demonstrates worn performance
Michelin has launched a new range of long haul orientated truck tyres. As you would imagine, the French manufacturer's latest generation of commercial vehicle technology is said to lead the market and surpass the high standards of the previous range. The latest tyres even include a label beating grade A fuel efficiency trailer fitment. But what's arguably more interesting is that Michelin is promoting the whole life strengths of its new products and their “total performance” at a time when all eyes are on the three characteristics printed on a certain self adhesive sticker.
Of course the fact that the launch coincides with the introduction European tyre labelling is not lost on Michelin. However, the company reports that has gone “far beyond regulatory compliance” with the latest offering, pointing out – as we have seen – that the company is committed to ensuring that its tyres deliver much more than is shown on the label for both users and fleet owners alike.
According to the company, the tyres are being produced now with the first OE deliveries arriving with truck manufacturers around the end of October. Replacement market stocks will follow in February 2013.
Part worn performance
No we are not referring to the rise in part worn passenger car tyre sales that is both well documented and much maligned in that sector of the industry. Rather this means longer total mileage as well as the ability to maintain performance levels throughout the first life tread. This development follows on from a strategic decision for the company to use its Ladoux global research and development centre’s tracks to test tyres that are two-thirds worn, products with 6mm of tread left. The aim is to demonstrate that tyres that have been in use for several tens of thousands of kilometres (or even more than 100,000 kilometres in optimal conditions) can still perform where other products offer considerably less.
Furthermore, there were two unspoken inferences to be drawn from this proposition. Firstly that other premium competitors are not able to offer such a limited deterioration of performance as tyres wear and secondly that premium tyres that appear strong on labels do not necessarily offer this performance across a range of performance characteristics or across the whole tread life. And because the comparison was drawn with premium competitors, the logical conclusion of this argument is to raise another question: if there are significant performance differences amongst this crowd how much more amongst lower quality competitors – whatever the labels might say?
As far as the X Line range is concerned, Michelin reports that a 40 per cent improvement in the mileage performance of its compound (compared with the preceding range) plus a number of smart applications of cutting edge sipe technology results in an 8 – 12 per cent improvement in mileage in the finished product as well as similarly dramatic improvements in rolling resistance/fuel consumption and wet braking.
However for an insight into the new product’s performance here are the first tyre labels to be released. The XLine 315/ 70 R22.5 steer axles tyre scores BB 69dB, the 315/70 R22.5 BC 72 drive fitment (and has a three mountains snowflake rating) while the highest scoring – as far as the label is concerned – is the 385/55 R22.5 trailer tyre which scores AB 70dB.
Michelin also gave the Multiway 3D 295/80 R22.5 its UK launch, following its initial introduction earlier this year and allowed Tyres & Accessories the opportunity to become part of limited group that has witnessed its Marco Polo tyre testing machinery in operation within the bowels of the Ladoux R&D centre’s sanctum. For full details, see the November issue of Tyres & Accessories magazine.