For a number of years the design and innovation behind tyres has been challenged to deliver even greater performance whilst respecting the environment, both in production and whilst in use. At Michelin, this has been achieved by focusing on improving the rolling resistance of a tyre, not just in passenger cars but across all modes of transport that need tyres to provide greener more sustainable mobility. Today the average passenger car will consume 1:4 tanks of fuel just to overcome the resistance between the tyre and the road surface. This figure will increase to around 1:3 tanks of fuel for electric vehicles as there will be less moving parts elsewhere on the vehicle.
Across the industry the introduction of tyre labelling for passenger cars and light trucks will take effect from 1 November 2012 under European Regulation (EC) No. 1222/2009. The graphics on the label may be familiar as they are already used for household appliances and more recently for new cars. This new regulation will bring a major advance in consumer information on tyre safety (wet braking) and the tyres impact on the environment (rolling resistance and external noise).
The role that the tyre can play to help reduce the impact on the environment is often over-looked. For example, if all vehicles on the roads tomorrow switched to the most fuel efficient tyres (category A) available, a saving of 8 million tonnes of CO2 could be achieved. That would be the equivalent of turning 10% of the vehicle parc overnight to carbon neutral.