Michelin highlights sustainable milestones at Sonoma Raceway

Michelin highlights sustainable milestones at Sonoma Raceway

We learn about sustainability strategies and new products, drive a Freightliner all-electric eCascadia Class 8 truck, and take a few hot laps around the track.

Sonoma, California: Home to some of the most beautiful rolling hills in North America, wine country, and the legendary Sonoma Raceway, which hosted this year’s Michelin Sustainability Summit. It was the tire manufacturer’s opportunity to have journalists such as myself learn about the company’s sustainability strategies, take a look at a few new products, speak with executives about Michelin’s future sustainability goals, get behind the wheel of a Freightliner all-electric eCascadia Class 8 truck, and even take a few hot laps around the track.

Let’s start with Michelin’s sustainability goals and how Michelin is putting its chips on the table to get there. The company’s North America president, Alexis Garcin, says that it’s Michelin’s goal to build all of its tires out of 40% renewable and recycled materials by 2030 and 100% renewable and recycled material by 2050. That’s easier said than done, because today tires are made of over 200 different materials. But, Michelin displayed proof of its progress, showing off a passenger car tire built using 45% renewable or recycled materials, as well as a bus tire built from 58% renewable or recycled materials.

Garcin went on to explain the ways that the company is diversified beyond tire manufacturing, and how it’s putting sustainability in the spotlight in those markets as well. For example, Michelin has designed new high-tech sails for maritime transport that can reduce emissions by 20% at sea, and Michelin also has a big stake in Symbio, a company that hopes to accelerate the large-scale roll-out of high-performance, sustainable and competitive hydrogen transportation through solutions like its H2Motive StackPack fuel cell.

The company also gave us a sneak peek at Lucid’s new Lucid Sapphire EV model, which Michelin is supplying sustainable tires for. We weren’t allowed to drive in this quarter-million dollar supercar, but we did get the opportunity to ride. There was plenty to drive, though, including an all-electric Porsche Taycan, an all-electric BMW EQ5, and a gas-powered Ford Explorer, each spec’d with Michelin tires.

Michelin also brought in a John Deere tractor spec’d with Michelin Axiobib 2 VF tires. These tractor tires are an ultra-low-pressure tire produced in Brazil, that allows farmers to increase speed, reduce fuel consumption, and to optimize soil compaction, according to Michelin’s testing. Garcin went on to say that this all comes together to allow farmers to achieve up to a 4% higher crop yield.

Daimler Truck North America also brought two of their trucks to the event. One of these was DTNA’s SuperTruck II. The truck manufacturer worked with its supplier partners, like Michelin, to custom build an ultra-sustainable Class 8 truck, including sustainable tires. The second truck was a Freightliner all-electric eCascadia Class 8 truck spec’d with Michelin’s X Line Energy steer and drive tires. DTNA’s Katie Rabideau said that those tires are very important for maximizing the range of an electric Class 8 truck.

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