LAS VEGAS (Nov. 2, 2000) — Michelin North America Inc. and the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) announced, on Oct. 31, an agreement to co-host a series of events showcasing environmentally-friendly automobile technologies.
Held for the first time outside France, the ``Michelin Challenge Bibendum´´ will feature a display of alternative-fuel vehicles powered by fuel cell, solar, hybrid, diesel or natural gas engines.
The performance stages of the event will begin in Los Angeles on Oct. 27, 2001, where vehicles will be rated on criteria such as acceleration, handling, noise and fuel economy, as well as interior and exterior appearance.
The entries will arrive in Las Vegas the following day and will then be put on display on Oct. 29, 2001 — the opening day of the 2001 SEMA/International Tire Exposition — as attendees arrive at the Las Vegas Convention Center. An environmental vehicle conference and an awards program also will take place that day.
Michelin hosted the first Challenge in France in September 1998 to highlight advances in auto industry environmental efforts and mark the centennial birthday of "Bibendum," the tire maker´s "Michelin Man" mascot. The second event — which drew 32 entries from nearly all of the world´s major vehicle manufacturers and top design houses — was held this past September in Paris in conjunction with the International Mondial Auto Show.
While Charles R. Blum, SEMA president, said the event and complementary environmental conference "brings a whole new dimension to SEMA," a Michelin spokesman noted that the "continuing development and refinement of new vehicle technologies and the sustainability of our resources is important to everyone´s future."