Michelin is a very big name when it comes to tire manufacturers worldwide. They make tires for almost all sorts of vehicles including automobiles, airplanes, bicycles, farm equipment, heavy machinery and trucks. They were present at the Frankfurt International Motor Show and made an important announcement there. They announced that they have become the official tire supply partner for the first global electric race series. The contract was awarded to them by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) in March 2013. In the very first season of the event, all teams would use the Spark Renault SRT_01 Formula E racecar and it was showcased in the show along with the Michelin tires that have been developed for the car. The car is a single seat electric racecar and it is really the limit of what is currently possible with electric vehicles.
This new association would work very well in the favor of Michelin as it would promote new developments in the field of tire technology. It is a well known fact that technology first comes to racetrack and then eventually makes it to passenger vehicles. Michelin is an innovative company and this association might lead to some radical developments too.
Michelin chose to use 18 inch wheels and the governing authorities happily agreed to it. This would result in higher energy efficiency and would also bridge the gap between racing and street tires. Formula 1 uses tires from Pirelli which is another reputed brand. The tires on F1 are chosen according to the track conditions and there are different sets for wet and dry conditions. The tires used for dry conditions are slicks without any tread while the wet tires have tread on them. The tires developed by Michelin for the FIA Formula E championship have tread on them which is suitable for both wet and dry conditions. The same tires would work well in all weather conditions.
The reason behind developing such tires is that it would be somewhat similar to the street tires. As the tires being used have tread on them like the street tires, it would be easier for them to transfer the high end technology developed for race tires to street tires. Even when the tires are treaded, they aren’t any slouch. In fact they claim that no treaded tire today can match the level of performance of these tires. They have been designed to offer speed, versatility of use and longevity.
A lot of work has gone into the development of tires and the car. Dallara has worked on the chassis of the car, McLaren has developed the propulsion system, Renault has developed the electronics and has optimized the car while Williams has developed the batteries. The tire tests on this new car will start in December of this year. The championship will begin almost an year from now and some teams have already committed to the competition. In the first season, they are planning to have twenty racers belonging to 10 different teams. This event is surely going to be worth the wait.