“So do you feel the difference? “, asks Grégoire Pereira, our demonstrator driver at Michelin. “Absolutely none”, we admit frankly. Comfortably installed in a modern Ford Focus, although, all in all, quite classic, we enjoy a gentle piloting on one of the tire giant’s circuits, in Ladoux, in the suburbs of Clermont-Ferrand (Puy-de-Dôme) . The hazy sky does not detract from the impression of immensity and calm of this place, where Michelin carries out most of its tests on 380 hectares of tracks. We have been driving for ten minutes already, and impossible to detect the slightest peculiarity of this car. That’s the point.
It is only on the outside that we see a major change: the tires are “empty”. Instead of the traditional black rubber band, there are many rigid fins, like spokes, at regular intervals, connected to the rim – as for it classic. The whole is surrounded by a tread with hollowed out sculptures, like those of today. It is bluffing. Eric Vinesse, Director of Research and Development at Michelin, is delighted:
“We have succeeded in developing a puncture-proof tire, with behavior very similar to a current tire, which adapts to all urban and peri-urban vehicles, and which offers the same properties and performance when driving. “
You have to watch the tire roll on a raised nail to understand the immediate interest. Or observe it colliding with an object and deforming over time.
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