MICHELIN IS COMMITTED TO A SUSTAINABILE MOBILITY
(DETROIT – Jan. 9, 2012) – Who could have predicted in 1892, when the Michelin
brothers first built tires for a few “horseless” carriages, that the number of cars
in the world would someday approach one billion?
Today, it is estimated that more than 900 million cars travel the vast roadways of
the world. According to experts, that number will reach 1.5 billion in just two
Obviously, this spectacular growth has its consequences, and Michelin is committed to
the continuous improvement of the ever-growing transportation sector.
Among all human activities, road travel accounts for 18 percent of total carbon
emissions, and all forms of transportation account for 24 percent of the total. Some
five billion metric tons of CO2 are emitted annually by cars worldwide, and the
number is climbing, especially in developing countries. From a natural-resource
consumption standpoint, 85 billion barrels of oil are consumed every day, and road
transportation accounts for a large part of this.
These facts raise important questions. For example, how can the world’s growing need
for mobility be reconciled with the related environmental impact of these activities?
How is the auto industry responding, and how specifically do tires fit into this
From a societal standpoint, there is increasing pressure to respond in the form of
more stringent environmental regulations in countries across the world. These
regulations, coupled with public pressure, seek to dramatically reduce the car’s
impact on the environment by lowering fuel consumption.
Aside from environmental concerns, basic economics are also a major factor today. The
cost of fuel has risen dramatically in recent years, and many are predicting that
this trend will continue long into the future. For drivers, the price of mobility
has increased significantly.
In short, sustainable road mobility is more critical than ever, as it enhances,
enables and facilitates the transport of goods and people — which is obviously
essential to our way of life and economies. Manufacturers are continually striving to
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reduce the impact on the environment and best preserve the planet’s finite supply of
Michelin plays a direct role in the quest for sustainable mobility solutions.
Michelin’s approach is a balanced one in seeking to deliver an optimal mix of fuel
savings achieved by its tires’ energy efficiency, reducing raw material use through
its tires’ longevity and providing ever safer products. In very human terms, the
Michelin goal is to safely transport as many people and goods as possible, as far as
possible and consume as little material as possible.
This guiding principle is solid — only by combining outstanding performance across
the board can road transportation become truly sustainable.
Michelin's research and development programs have long focused on these issues,
giving the tire maker unrivalled expertise in the area of fuel efficiency. Backed by
an annual budget of $500 million, the company's research and development teams have
developed innovative solutions.
Everyone understands that tires play a major role in automotive fuel consumption.
They are responsible for nearly 20 percent of the energy consumed to move a car that
is powered by an internal combustion engine and up to 30 percent for a full electric
vehicle in urban use.
Again, following a balanced approach, Michelin's goal is to be a pioneer in designing
tires that help reduce fuel consumption while maintaining the same high performance
in the areas of safety and longevity. The most powerful force in this equation is
Michelin is pushing its capacity for innovation to new levels. One of Michelin’s
major challenges is the "materials challenge," which addresses the question of tire
longevity. Thanks to a materials efficiency index, Michelin technicians can measure
the performance of materials incorporated in tires. Specifically, the index measures
what a unit of material can accomplish; such as, for one kilogram of material, how
many tons can a truck tire carry, how many kilometers can a car tire travel or how
many landings can an aircraft tire make?
All of Michelin's research and development projects are underpinned by this
commitment to using tire materials efficiently. As different as they may be (e.g.,
truck tires vs. car tires), all Michelin tires and other innovations share this same
Again, Michelin’s research and development group has prioritized a balanced approach:
reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions, use as little rubber and other natural
MICHELIN COMMITTED TO A SUSTAINABILE MOBILITY FUTURE….page 3
resources as possible, while maximizing tire longevity and delivering superior safety
Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures
and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles,
bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks and motorcycles. The company
also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases.
Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America (www.michelinman.com)
employs more than 21,400 and operates 18 major manufacturing plants in 16 locations.
For more information, visit www.MichelinMedia.com or contact:
Tony Fouladpour Lynne Fowler
Michelin North America Michelin North America
office: 1 864 458 4335 office: 1 864 458 6365
mobile: 1 864 380 6986 mobile: 1 864 561 9914