Demand for Michelin North America Inc.'s wide-base truck tire, the Michelin X One, will climb if the cost of fuel continues to rise because the tire can reduce a truck's fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent.
That was the message of Ibrahim H. Janajreh, manager of truck tire innovation for Michelin Americas Research & Development Corp. He detailed the benefits of the firm's new generation wide-base truck tire during the recent Clemson University Tire Industry Conference in Hilton Head.
He said fuel accounts for up to 20 percent of a truck's operation, and ``fleets are going out of business directly related to the rise and drop in fuel prices.'' Likewise, at 65 miles an hour, tire rolling resistance makes up an estimated 32 percent of fuel usage. ``That's our focus,'' he said.
And Michelin's tests show that the X One can deliver 25-percent better rolling resistance for drive and trailer tire positions, Mr. Janajreh said. ``That's the key to this tire. It saves truckers money with no compromise in performance.'' Even saving 6-10 percent on fuel usage is significant, he added, estimating that a 5-percent reduction will save an average truck 1,000 gallons of fuel a year. ``With fleets that have 5,000 or 10,000 trucks, the savings add up,'' he said.
But improved rolling resistance is just one of the benefits offered by the X One. He said the tires deliver excellent performance and handling and can reduce a truck's overall weight up to 1,350 pounds when used in both the drive and trailer positions.
The new generation wide-base tires also makes improvements over its predecessor in several areas. For example, the X One offers improved treadlife and is easier on the pavement then the prior wide-base offering, he said. The design also has improved reinforcement and has a lower profile than the conventional wide-base tires.
Michelin launched the X One in fall 2000 and said sales are outstripping its projections, though it did not provide actual sales numbers.