ERJ staff report (DS)
Paris -- Michelin has officially launched its latest innovation, the Energy Saver tyre for passenger cars. The tyre uses carbon black only as a pigment, and also uses "the latest generation of silica" in the tread compound.
Michelin said it has developed a new manufacturing process which, "creates a blend that offers unrivalled homogeneity." Previously Michelin has said it has developed a new mixing process for the tyre, but has consistently declined to give any further details. The company failed to return promised phone calls in response to questions.
In the announcement associated with the tyre's launch last week, Michelin said it had, "developed a special manufacturing process adapted to the compound's ingredients-of which there are 14 in the tread band alone."
Michelin said the tyre is less heavy than equivalent tyres from competition, but failed to quantify the reduction.
Michelin said the Energy Saver is already being delivered to carmakers including Peugeot, Â Fiat and Renault. The Michelin Energy Saver range is also certified by Mercedes or in the process of being certified by other carmakers, including Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.
Michelin said, "From its market introduction, the tyre will be available in 29 sizes and that number will increase to 42 by mid-2008. By the end of the year, the range will cover 90 percent of existing sizes with a T-speed rating, 82Â percentÂ with an H-rating, and 80Â percentÂ with a V-rating.
Although the tyre was officially launched at the end of last week, French silica company Rhodia simultaneously announced a new grade of silica, called Zeosil Premium, which is claimed to give improved rolling resistance in tyres. At the time, Rhodia said no tyres are currently on the market using the product, but it had been developed in cooperation with an un-named tyre maker in Europe.