Michelin Claims Top Eco Honors in Euro Tire Tests

With environmentalists becoming increasingly concerned over non-tailgate vehicle emissions, Michelin is claiming top honors in an European mass test of tire particulates.

The French brand claims the leader spot in an independent tire study conducted by Europe’s largest motoring association, Germany’s ADAC, focused on the environmental credentials of the most popular tire brands and models on sale on the continent. This follows calls by emissions lobbyists for automakers to spend more efforts on reducing emissions from tires and brakes currently accounting for up to 60% of an ICE powered vehicle’s overall pollution. Naturally, the issue becomes increasingly urgent with the advance of BEVs which, powered by heavy battery packs, are proportionately heavier than their comparable ICE equivalents thus emitting much more micro-plastic particulates from tire and brake wear.

ADAC’s test procedure subjects tires to 15,000km (9,320 miles) of real-life driving on a mixture of urban, country and motorway roads to calculate the life of the tire in terms of mileage to the wear limit. This is combined with information about the tire’s abrasion rate, the tread depth when new and the amount of material shed over its life, to generate an evaluation of its environmental credentials.

In addition, the performance characteristics of each tire were also assessed to highlight any compromises a consumer may need to make when choosing a more environmentally-friendly tire. Michelin says that the analysis of almost 100 summer and winter tires, across a variety of tread patterns and sizes, showed that it stood out by not only generating very low levels of tire particulates but also strong performances in safety tests.

Tire abrasion occurs during the power transmission at the contact patch between the tire, the road surface and the dirt lying on the road surface (e.. leaf residues, blown soil from farmland, sand, water, etc.). Therefore, abrasion particles do not consist of pure tire wear but are a conglomerate of different substances – hence the technical term “TRWP” (tire and road wear particles.

Among the 15 tire manufacturers tested, Michelin, with an average tire abrasion of just 90g per 1,000km (620 miles), was shown to be “way ahead of the competition” with its Cross Climate+ (185/65 R15) offering the lowest abrasion rate of any tire tested at just 58g/1000km. At the same time, the brand claims to have performed consistently well in terms of wet- and dry-road performance and in snowy conditions where appropriate, resulting in it emerging as the clear leader.

According to the ADAC report: “It is imperative… to emphasize not only tire performance in driving conditions but also the environmental behavior of a tire in particular. Michelin is one of the few tire manufacturers to have recognized this need and has specifically geared its tire development towards this.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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