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Innovation

125 years of improving mobility

It takes deep knowledge of tires and leading tire technologies to combine conflicting performance characteristics successfully: our know-how works to your advantage.

They just kept getting better

By focusing on finding new solutions for your driving needs, our technologies and
innovations have profoundly shaped past and present tires.
Today, we continue our commitment to imagine the future of mobility.

  • 1895

    The first car fitted with air-filled tires!!

    The Michelin Brothers apply their know how from bicycle tires to a car. They install the first air-filled tires on their race car “Lightning”. 

  • 1913

    The Removable Steel-Wheel (The Pre-Spare Tire)

    Michelin introduces the idea of an emergency tire - a concept that became standard in many vehicles.

  • 1937

    The Pilot® Tire

    Michelin launches a tire for skilled drivers and high performance cars. It is positioned lower to the ground and is a forerunner of the late twentieth century low profile tires.

  • 1937

    The Metalic tire

    Its name says it all: in 1937, we used steel cable in the tire's structure. This will eventually revolutionize the world of tires.

  • 1946

    The Radial tire

    A different structure improving safety and fuel consumption. A revolution that all tire makers will embrace. 

  • 1992

    The Green Tire

    Michelin integrates silica instead of carbon black, improving energy efficiency while enhancing safety and increasing longevity.

  • 2004

    The Tweel® (“Tire” + “Wheel”)

    This tire can’t explode or puncture: it’s not filled with air but with polymer spokes.

  • 2004

    The Active Wheel (electric)

    This wheel integrates an electric suspension system, electric traction engine and disk brake.

  • 2012

    The Communicating Tire

    RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips are embedded in tires to increase safety and efficiency.

    Tested for the first time at the 2012 London Olympics.

  • 2014

    The EverGrip™ technology

    This technology allows a tire to evolve as it is being used, performing even when it’s worn. A “safe worn tire” that grips even on wet roads!*

    * Safe refers to wet braking, wet handling and hydroplaning resistance when tires are new and worn to 5/32.

R&D is in our DNA

Our first scientist was hired in 1893. Even then we knew that Research and Development would be key to the evolution of the modern tire.
Today, 6,600 R&D people strive to anticipate and meet your changing mobility needs through research in chemistry, physics, mechanics and other realms to develop new technologies and constantly test prototypes. Our hubs are located on three continents and in seven countries: China, France, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and the United States.

 

Our commitment in a few numbers:

  • 350

    Different fields of expertise involved (collaborative thinking sparks innovative ideas)

  • 10,000

    Active patents that protect our innovations

  • 250

    Patents submitted each year.

  • 40,000

    Times per year we circle the earth through our road and machine tests - that's once every 12 minutes !

A lab on the track, a lab on fast forward

Motorsports is driving’s toughest innovation lab, and we’ve been experimenting
in it for over a century.

The pressure is high.
For each race, we need to deliver performance characteristics adapted to each
racing partner and for different racing conditions.
Afterwards, we examine how our findings could benefit more people.
So you can be sure that if it can handle the racetrack, it will handle your drive.

 

Our Le Mans Lab:

  • Began 90 years ago

  • 23 Wins of the 24 hours of Le Mans

  • 17 consecutive wins

 

Our World Rally Lab:

  • 40 years of experience

  • 21 World Rally Championships driver titles

  • 23 World Rally Championships car Manufacturer titles

 

Our Formula E Lab:

Starting in 2014, the new Formula E for electric cars will challenge us in
developing top-level racing tires for this new breed of cars.