LAS VEGAS—Michelin North America Inc. and the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association will co-host an event and conference next year showcasing environmentally friendly automobile technologies.
The "Michelin Challenge Bibendum"—a competition for innovative environmental vehicles—will feature a variety of alternative-fuel vehicles powered by sources such as solar energy, diesel, natural and LP gas, fuel cells and hybrid and other types of engines. Next year will mark the first time the challenge has been held outside of France.
"We are delighted that SEMA is joining with Michelin to bring this important event to North America," said Michael Fanning, vice president of public relations and governmental affairs for MNA.
"Hosting the finish of the `Michelin Challenge Bibendum' and the complementary conference brings a whole new dimension to SEMA," said Charles R. Blum, president of SEMA.
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 next day and will be put on display at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Oct. 29—the opening day of the 2001 SEMA/ International Tire Expo. An environmental vehicle conference and awards program also will take place that day.
Michelin hosted the first Challenge 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 Challenge, held in September, included a nearly 500-mile circuit and drew 36 entries from nearly all of the world's major vehicle manufacturers and top design houses, and was held in conjunction with the International Mondial Auto Show in Paris.
Michelin said it will release more details about the 2001 Challenge in a series of announcements between now and the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.
"The continuing development and refinement of new vehicle technologies and the sustainability of our resources is important to everyone's future," Mr. Fanning said.