By Oliver Hall
Michelin has wheeled out its new concept tyres specially designed for electric vehicles, at a top motor show.
The French tyres manufacturer claims the prototype addresses the distinct performance demands of such vehicles while still delivering maximum grip and long tread life.
Electric vehicles require tyres designed specifically to handle the higher low-end torque that electric motors generate, Michelin said at this year’s North American International Auto Show.
The tyres also need to offer lower rolling resistance and reduced noise generation.
In order to minimise rolling resistance, Michelin’s EV prototype tyre has a relatively large rim diameter and is relatively narrow, thereby reducing energy consumption since there is less front rubber in the contact patch.
The larger diameter combined with a low profile helps reduce energy consumption because the tyre turns fewer times when covering a given distance, Michelin said. This results in less deformation and heat build up, resulting in additional energy savings.
Michelin claims the EV concept tyre offers a reduction in rolling resistance of up to 15 per cent compared to its best conventional tyre.
At the same time, the company said, the larger diameter means more rubber in the tread, thereby increasing total mileage and reducing overall operating costs.
To achieve the desired performance qualities, Michelin said its engineers employed the latest silica-based tread compounds, a new tyre profile designed specifically for urban use and a tread design optimising the surface of rubber in contact with the road.