Michelin debuts tire with evolving grip technology

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Michelin North America Inc. photo Michelin's Premier A/S features three distinct new tread design features that Michelin allow the tire to "regenerate" its tread over time.

DETROIT (Jan. 14, 2014) — Michelin North America Inc. today introduced its Michelin Premier A/S tire with its new EverGrip technology, which the tire maker said allows the tire to maintain wet traction as the tire becomes worn.

Making its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the Premier A/S combines a unique rubber compound designed for enhanced wet grip, hidden grooves that emerge as the tire wears down, and expanding rain grooves that widen over time.

"The Michelin Premier A/S tire represents a significant breakthrough in automotive safety," said Scott Clark, COO 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."

The new tire — available this spring in 32 sizes, ranging from 185/65R15 to 245/45R18 — will be sold with a limited 60,000-mile warranty and will start with a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $156.

It will be manufactured at Michelin's plants in Lexington and Greenville, S.C.; Ardmore, Okla.; and Pictou County and Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.

Michelin North America Inc. photo Michelin claims the new Premier A/S offers wet braking traction at a half-worn state at least equal to that of competitors' new tires.

Michelin developed a high-traction compound for the tire featuring "extreme amounts" of silica and sunflower oil, according to the company. The silica provides bonding strength and adherence needed for wet traction, while the sunflower oil allows for improved wet grip at lower temperatures, the tire maker said.

"These ingredients are mixed through an exacting process that ensures a consistent material contacting the road, both when new and worn," the company said.

Michelin explains the technology in a 3 1/2 minute video on its MichelinMan.com website.

The Premier A/S also features expanding rain grooves positioned around the circumference of the tire with a special geometric shape that widens as the tread wears down, Michelin said. This helps maintain the amount of water that the tire can channel away as rain grooves lose depth.

Finally, the tire features a set of 150-plus grooves along the tire's shoulder that are hidden when the tire is new and emerge as it becomes worn. These grooves assist in channeling water away and maintaining wet traction.

Michelin said its EverGrip technology provides consumers with shorter stopping, hydroplaning resistance and increased grip when new and worn.

"The Michelin Premier A/S with EverGrip is a compelling new safety technology that helps keep the driver in control and the car firmly planted on the road," Mr. Clark said.

Michelin has offered a similar technology in North America since at least 2006, albeit in the commercial truck sector.

In 2006 it debuted the XDA Hypersipe retread that had molded tread features on both the top and bottom of a precure tread band. Sipes molded in the bottom of the tread appear as the tire wears, giving improved worn traction over the life of the retread.

IN 2007, Michelin brought the technology to new tires, launching the XDA5 drive tire, which incorporated patented design and manufacturing techniques that yielded a tread that reveals new grooves and tread blocks, giving the tire a second life — self-regenerating to improve wet, worn traction.

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