Why We Care
Respect for the environment is one of Michelin’s five core values. To assess the environmental impact of our operations, independent organizations are regularly commissioned to perform detailed impact studies, the findings of which help to shape our environmental stewardship. In this regard, life-cycle assessments have shown that most of a tire’s environmental impact occurs during use, with the manufacturing and end-of-life recovery phases having a much weaker impact.
That’s why, for many years now, Michelin has been steadily focusing on:
- Increasing the energy efficiency of its tires while simultaneously improving other performance factors, especially safety, noise and tread-life.
- Promoting the sustainable mobility among employees and local communities.
Energy Efficiency of Michelin Tires
The biggest environmental impact of a tire occurs while the tire is in use on a vehicle and is due principally to fuel consumption. The amount of fuel consumed results from the tire’s rolling resistance.
For each rotation, the tire must deform itself in order to hug the shape of a flat road surface. The materials which form the tire dissipate part of the drive energy in the form of heat, generating rolling resistance. The rolling resistance coefficient of a tire is closely dependent on the composition of rubber used and is expressed in kilograms per ton. For an average passenger car, a value of 10 kg/t means that, in order not to lose speed due to rolling resistance, a one-ton car must use the same amount of energy to climb a hill with a 1% gradient. In 1946, the invention of the radial tire enabled a decrease of 25% in rolling resistance. Michelin developed and launched the green tire in 1992 and is now in its fourth generation, enabling a further efficiency of 20%.
All told, by the end of 2011, the Michelin fuel-efficient tires sold since 1992 had saved nearly 15 billion liters of fuel and prevented the emission of almost 38 million tons of CO2.
Watch a video about Optimized Fuel Efficiency
Check out the Michelin Green meter to see the quantity of fuel saved from 1992 to date
In truck tires, the technological innovations collectively known as Michelin Durable Technologies are delivering a wide range of benefits, including a sustained improvement in fuel efficiency and carbon emissions. These technologies increase truck tire load capacity and tread-life, which has almost doubled since 1980. The millionth Michelin® X One® single wide base tire was sold in the United States in 2010. Since 2000, fleets equipped with X Ones have reported up to a 10% improvement in fuel efficiency. For 1,000 trucks, this represents a potential saving of 17,000 tons of CO2, which is equivalent to the average emissions generated by 3,400 American cars in a year.
Learn more about our Michelin Durable Technologies
In the agricultural domain, Michelin developed the Ultraflex technology, which offers a greater soil protection, more savings on fuel, a greater endurance and a longer service life.
Learn more about Michelin Ultraflex technology
Promote Sustainable Mobility
Sustainable mobility, the MICHELIN Challenge Bibendum
In October 1998 Michelin organized a birthday celebration to mark the centenary of the Michelin Man, also known as Bibendum. It took the form of a road rally for advanced technology vehicles from Clermont-Ferrand to Paris. The event ably demonstrated the automotive industry was already working towards sustainable mobility. And this inaugural edition of MICHELIN Challenge Bibendum was an early response to the challenges facing road mobility.
It took foresight then to engage stakeholders from across a highly competitive industry to work together for sustainable road mobility. After nine successful editions, the MICHELIN Challenge Bibendum has achieved wide recognition as the world’s premier forum in support of sustainable road mobility.
This international event combines technical tests and evaluations, demonstrations and test drives to gauge the progress of vehicles, energies and technologies. Fuel consumption, pollutant emissions, acceleration, braking, road handling, safety and design performances are evaluated. Technologies and trends are debated in forums and conferences. Private and public sector opinion leaders and decision-makers gauge the advances and future sustainable energy paths for better mobility. Together, stakeholders can promote programs and policies to address sustainable mobility issues.
In May 2011, the last edition of the MICHELIN Challenge Bibendum was organized in Berlin on the grounds of the former Tempelhof International Airport. It attracted over 150 companies and organizations, 300 vehicles and 6,000 experts, decision-makers, researchers, academics and journalists from over 80 countries.
Learn more about the Michelin Challenge Bibendum
The Michelin Commitment in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development
The World business Council for sustainable development brings together nearly 200 global companies that share a commitment to sustainable development. As a member since 2001, Michelin took part in two projects:
With eleven other international companies, Michelin is committed to the organization's Sustainable Mobility Project (SPM). In 2004, a final report had been edited. It proposed 7 goals.
One: Reduce conventional emissions from transport so that they do not constitute a significant public health concern anywhere in the world
Two: Reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from transport to sustainable levels
Three: Significantly reduce the number of transport-related deaths and injuries worldwide
Four: Reduce transport-related noise
Five: Mitigate traffic congestion
Six: Narrow mobility divides that exist within all countries and between the richest and poorest countries
Seven: Improve mobility opportunities for the general populations in developed and developing societies
Learn more about the WBCSD
Check out the final report of their Sustainable Mobility project
The Tire Industry Project (TIP) was launched in January 2006. Its goal is to identify and address the potential health and environmental impact of materials associated with tire manufacturing and use. Working under the umbrella of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the three largest tire manufacturers – Bridgestone (Japan), Goodyear (US) and Michelin (France) – chair this project, which includes a total of eleven companies representing approximately 70% of the world's tire manufacturing capacity.
Learn more about the Tire Industry Project
Michelin Participates in SmartWay Transport Partnership
“SmartWay Transport Partnership is a strong government/industry collaboration between freight shippers, carriers, logistics companies and other stakeholders, to voluntarily achieve improved fuel efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of freight transport. To date, the partnership includes nearly 2,900 companies and associations that are committed to improving fuel efficiency.”
Learn more about the SmartWay partnership
Smartway Verified Technologies : 21 Michelin Tires Registered
EPA's SmartWay Technology program develops test protocols, reviews strategies and verifies the performance of vehicles, technologies and equipment that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gases and other air pollutants from freight transport. EPA has determined the following types of technologies provide fuel saving and/or emission reducing benefits when used properly in their designed applications:
- Idle Reduction Technologies
- Aerodynamic Technologies
- Low Rolling Resistance Tires
- Retrofit Technologies
Within each of these categories, EPA has verified specific products.”
To date, 21 Michelin tires have been added to the list of EPA Smartway Verified Technologies.
Learn more about the SmartWay technology
Michelin Fleet Solutions (MFS)
The Michelin Fleet Solutions offer is intended for large vehicle fleets in Europe, which are invoiced in terms of mileage covered rather than in terms of number of tires purchased. For more than ten years, in 24 countries, 300,000 trucks and van fleets have chosen MFS. MFS deals with everything including choice, mounting, maintenance, assistance, retreading and end-of- life issues. In order to help its customers further reduce their fuel consumption, MFS runs ecodriving training courses and operates on-board information systems that analyze the cause of excessive fuel consumption and thus enable its correction. This example is often quoted by Michelin stakeholders as an illustration of functional economy.
“Fill Up With Air!”, How to Raise the Awareness of Motorists
This event, which aims to raise the awareness of motorists on the importance of tire pressure, was organized in approximately 16 European countries between 2002 and 2012 (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and United Kingdom) as well as in Algeria, Croatia, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Turkey, Malta, Serbia. In May 2004, the Group signed the European road safety charter and made a pledge to “visit” 25 countries per year. More than 100,000 vehicles have been checked directly by Michelin over this ten-year period. The results of this operation show that, all too often, tires are under-inflated and sometimes dangerously so. The “Fill up with air!” campaign helps prevent numerous road accidents and helps improve the environmental and energy performance of tires.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
TPMS is an in-vehicle tire pressure monitoring system that warns drivers in the event of significant under-inflation of tires through a dashboard signal. For earthmover tires, Michelin has developed the MEMS system (Michelin Earthmover Monitoring System), which informs a central maintenance service located at mines in the event of an abnormal change in tire pressure or temperature. This enables problems to be corrected swiftly, thus increasing safety and preventing any damage to equipment.
In-Wheel Motor Technologies to Support Sustainable Mobility
The Michelin Active Wheel
By combining an electric suspension, braking system and electric traction motor, the Michelin active wheel eliminates the need for a clutch, drive shaft and differential, thereby paving the way for a completely new type of automobile.
The even more radical Active Wheel integrates not only the tire and brakes, but also an active suspension system and a miniaturized electric motor. The motorized wheel version of this revolutionary concept makes it easier to convert internal combustion vehicles into hybrids without any major modification. Depending on use and the driving environment, the motorized wheels may be fitted on the front and/or rear axles.
Michelin Supports the Shell Eco-Marathon
The Shell Eco-marathon challenges student teams from around the world to design, build and test ultra energy-efficient vehicles. With annual events first in the Americas, then Europe and Asia, the winners are the teams that go the furthest using the least amount of energy. Michelin's role at the Eco-Marathon is an important one. Not only do many of the teams use our tires, but our engineers are there to provide technical know-how and guidance to the teams. We conduct pre-race safety checks on the vehicles’ tires and evaluate proper tire pressure to ensure each vehicle is ready to go by the time it reaches the starting line. Helping to insure the safety of all participants while championing sustainable mobility, Michelin’s support of the Shell Eco-marathon is just one more demonstration of our commitment to A Better Way Forward.
Learn more about Shell’s Eco-Marathon