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Michelin Invests $6.8 Million to Improve Fuel Economy

Michelin is investing $6.8 million in a research and development project focused on further improving vehicle fuel economy by reducing tire rolling resistance.

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These funds will support the company’s research efforts in South Carolina and include a $1.9 million research contract with Clemson University and its International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR).  The work will begin immediately and continue over the next three years.

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Michelin Americas Research Company (MARC) will lead the project and conduct much of the work internally. Additionally, after a competitive bid process with several leading universities, Michelin selected Clemson University to conduct a significant portion of the research. The Clemson contract is valued at $1.9 million and will engage the talents of more than 20 professors, graduate and undergraduate students.

The project, including the research at Clemson, will develop new generations of tires, new manufacturing processes, new materials and improved modeling and simulation tools for use in automotive applications. It will fund a suite of technologies that will allow Michelin to put better, more advanced products on the market, the company said.

“The eyes of the transportation industry are fixed squarely on the Upstate of South Carolina,” said Jim Micali, chairman and president of Michelin North America. “We believe that the future – not only of the automotive industry but also of transportation and mobility – lies in the imaginations and hands of these researchers searching for ways to improve fuel economy and overall mobility. We are excited to see what lies ahead, and we’re proud to further invest in South Carolina.”

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Michelin leads the industry in fuel-efficient tires that deliver top performance while reducing environmental impact. Since 1992, compared to conventional tires on the road, the 570 million Michelin green energy saving tires sold worldwide have reduced fuel consumption by an estimated 2.4 billion gallons, resulting in a reduction of CO2 emissions of more than 25 million tons, the equivalent of the amount absorbed by 880 million trees in one year. This means that each second approximately 12 gallons of fuel are saved and 240.6 pounds of CO2 are not released into the atmosphere, the company said.

“Michelin continues to lead the way in reducing tire-related fuel consumption and CO2 emissions and this particular research effort is only a small part of that overall effort,” said David Stafford, COO of MARC. “With this latest research investment, our brightest minds and most talented engineers are rolling up their sleeves to make a difference in tire performance. Their work will save consumers money at the pump, help improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” (Tire Review/Akron)

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