French tire company Michelin said its new technology will allow it to guarantee 60,000 miles of life for its tires, at a small premium price to its current products.
Grip is improved because of a new design, and Michelin says this actually means grip improves as the tires wear down.
The new tires go on sale in North America in April, Michelin said at the Detroit car show. Sales will eventually go global.
The new tires use a new compound called Evergrip, which uses extreme amounts of silica and sunflower oil, Michelin said. The new tires also use a new design which allows the grip of tires to improve as they wear. As the tire grooves wear down the design means it gets wider, rather than the narrowing performance of current tires.
Michelin used performers to construct a montage of the tires benefits on the stage behind the speaker, and Michelin’s history, which dates back to 1896 and bicycle tires.
Michelin said its revolutionary new EverGrip technology provides drivers with exceptional levels of safety even as their tires wear down. Even when worn, the tires stop shorter on wet roads than the leading competitors brand new tires.
“The new tires represents a significant breakthrough in automotive safety,” said Scott Clark, chief operating officer of Michelin North America’s passenger and light truck tire division.
“With our truly revolutionary advancements in tire technology, we are able to directly address the effects of tire wear on traction and have been able to break the traditional paradigm,” Clark said.
Michelin said tires rely on grooves between the treads to evacuate water and maintain grip with the road. Until now, tires traditionally lost traction in wet conditions as the tread became worn and grooves lost depth decreasing the tire’s ability to funnel water away, increasing stopping distances and the chances of hydroplaning. Wet traction is particularly important for automotive safety because drivers are more than twice as likely to be in an accident on wet roads compared to dry roads.
Michelin said the new tires depend on three main components:
■ High-traction Compound — The tires use a proprietary rubber compound with extreme amounts of silica and sunflower oil. The silica provides the bonding strength and adherence to keep the treads on the road for high traction in wet conditions. The sunflower oil allows the tire to grip on wet roads at lower temperatures.
■ Expanding Rain Grooves — In most tires, as the rain grooves lose depth, the amount of water they can funnel away from the tire is diminished. These tires have rain grooves positioned around the circumference of the tire with a special geometric shape that gets wider as the tread wears. This helps maintain the amount of water the tire can channel away even as these rain grooves lose depth.
■Emerging Grooves — Initially hidden when the tire is new, these tires have another set of grooves along the tire’s shoulder that emerge as the tire becomes worn. More than 150 hidden grooves emerge to provide additional help in channeling water away and maintaining wet traction as miles are logged.