Proterra and Michelin Develop New Low Rolling Resistance Tire

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A lot of attention in the e-transportation space gets focused on innovative tech for chassis and motor design. With good reason. There’s a lot of exciting stuff happening out there. Take, for example, cars able to predict the weather or interiors re-imagined as first class airline cabins in the soon-to-drop Lucid Air.

  • Often overlooked, tires hold great promise for optimizing safety and performance of all vehicles, which means less energy use.
  • Proterra already beat a world record using Michelin tire technology and looking for even better results.
  • Although this particular tire is a specialized bus fitment, lessons learned from this project will find their way to tires for everything from EVs to bicycles.

In all the hullabaloo, you might forget the tire. Often taken for granted, it’s an essential piece of equipment and also holds a lot of potential for advancement. Tell me your eyes don’t light up at the idea of a tire that also functions as a propeller in a flying car.

As engines and materials evolve, tires need to as well in order to suit changing conditions. You wouldn’t wear bowling shoes to go running, would you? Proterra, a leading producer of heavy-duty electric transportation, is gearing up for the race. It has entered into a collaboration with Michelin to develop the MICHELIN X InCity Energy Z tire, a new low rolling resistance tire designed and optimized for battery-electric buses in urban environments. Here’s a great explanation of what a low rolling resistance tire is.

Starting With World Class Efficiency

The X InCity Energy Z tires will help to reduce rolling resistance, increase load-carry capacity and leverage superior traction, resulting in increased vehicle range and improved performance of electric buses. Proterra and Michelin already have a successful relationship. The Proterra Catalyst E2 max vehicle beat the world record for longest distance traveled by an electric vehicle on a single charge. Any electric vehicle.

The Proterra Catalyst E2 achieved that 1,101.2 miles in a month with 660 kWh of energy storage capacity by using Michelin Advanced Technology tread compounds in the tires fitted on the bus. Those same compounds will be incorporated into the X InCity Energy Z rollers.

Optimized For All Weather Conditions

X InCity Energy Z is also a tough customer. Using 3D Matrix sipe technologies, it provides excellent traction in all weather conditions. For those in the biz, it’s certified 3PMSF (three-peak mountain snowflake) and M+S (Mud and Snow), which meets the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association snow-traction performance requirements and the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada requirements for severe snow traction.

These tires are built specifically for use on buses, but the technology developed here will find its way to everything from long distance trucks to urban EVs and even down to Michelin’s line of bicycle tires. Fighting climate change isn’t going to come down to one magic bullet solution, it will ultimately involve maximizing the efficiency of everything.

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