By participating in Formula E competition since its inception, Michelin has garnered cutting-edge expertise to develop tires for everyday electric cars.
An electric car is a battery, motors, a lot of electronics… And tires, of course! The biggest tire brands have obviously taken a close interest in this growing market, with Michelin in the lead. But to offer the tires best suited to electric vehicles, many technologies had to be tested and iterated.
Formula E to the rescue of classic electric cars
The French group has used Formula E as a springboard to develop tires adapted to this market. Michelin is one of the founding partners of the competition, which sees a dozen electric single-seaters compete on several circuits around the world. Rather than the 13-inch typical of Formula 1, the company used 18-inch tires for the Formula E cars. Obviously, this was not an idea since we find this size of tires on city cars.
During ePrix competitions, Michelin had plenty of time to experiment, especially since Formula E regulations prohibit pit stops to replace wheels. It is therefore imperative to design very versatile tires that can hold up despite changes in weather and terrain. The company’s engineers have refined their work thanks to this know-how, thus making it possible to improve handling, braking, management of irregularities on the road, etc.
The result is a third generation of Pilot Sport EV tires released in 2018, which reduces the weight of the single-seater by 10 kg. An essential criterion for this type of vehicle, because the lighter it is, the less energy it consumes over an equivalent distance. Michelin announced that the Seoul ePrix, held last weekend, was the last for the group.
Michelin is not alone in this market of course, competition is fierce with Pirelli, Goodyear and Continental. The Frenchman now offers two ranges of tires for electric cars: the Pilot Sport EV which already equips Tesla models, and the ePrimacy for tourism models.