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Safety, environment and purchasing power: Michelin supports the new European Regulation R117-04 on worn car tires

The new regulation R117-04 guarantees heightened safety, better respect for the environment, and the protection of motorists’ purchasing power

Michelin supports the new European regulation R117-04 on the performance of new car tires once worn, which comes into force on July 1, 2024. It allows for guaranteeing better safety on the roads, and also for solving the issues of protecting both the planet and the purchasing power of European motorists.

It is important for the Group to inform consumers of the significance of their tires’ performance when worn. This transparency is even more essential, as some performances deteriorate over time, especially in terms of safety.

This new European provision includes a stringent statutory test that allows for improving road safety while encouraging motorists to rely on trusted tires, right down to the legal tread depth of 1.6 mm.

A stringent test for greater safety

The wet braking test adopted by the European authorities measures the distance required for a vehicle to decelerate from 80 to 20 kph [50 to 12 mph] on a standard road surface with a water height of one mm. In addition to these specific points, this test includes other precise parameters, such as the road grip coefficient or the ambient temperature. The tests on wet ground are already in force for defining the safety threshold of new tires according to the regulations and are widely recognized by the tire industry. They also meet the more extreme situations that a motorist may encounter on the road.

Designing tires that perform from the first to the last mile is in Michelin’s DNA and stems from a design choice made by the Group, with one aim: user safety. For example, when stopping on wet ground, a worn Michelin tire designed to maintain its performances over time can brake on average 3.4 m shorter than a new competitor tire(2). This distance represents approximately one car length, a few meters that are crucial in an emergency.

Michelin is globally recognized for its investment into research and development. Every year, the Group invests almost 1.2 billion euro in innovation and R&D. These major efforts allow the 6,000 Michelin researchers to create, for example, new tire architectures, innovative tread patterns, and even to discover composite materials with hitherto unseen properties. The design choices made by Michelin are the guarantee of optimum safety, especially when braking in the wet, whether the tire is new or worn.

A regulation that also protects the planet and motorists’ purchasing power

According to a Michelin study, 50% of tires are removed before reaching a residual depth of 3 mm.

The application of this regulation will influence the demand for new tires in Europe, which could be reduced by 128 million units(3) per annum, leading to a reduction in CO2 emissions of approximately 6.6 million metric tons(4).  On a global scale, 400 million tires are removed prematurely every year, and 35 million metric tons of CO2 could therefore be saved, i.e., the emissions of a city like New York for six months.

Keeping tires for longer will also allow for protecting consumers’ purchasing power. This means nearly 7 billion euro(5) that could be saved by European motorists every year.

(1) Based on ScrapYard AGB data (Michelin internal studies on several thousand inspected tires: 128,000 worn tires of all brands and across the globe.
(2) * Tests performed by Michelin, and recorded by court officer, on September 20, 2018, at the “ATP Automotive Testing” center in Papenburg, Germany, on tire size 205/55 R16.
(3) Data from the Ernst & Young report entitled “Planned obsolescence is not inevitable” – May 2017
(4) According to internal calculations made on the basis of the data from the Ernst & Young report entitled “Planned obsolescence is not inevitable” – May 2017
(5) Data from the Ernst & Young report entitled “Planned obsolescence is not inevitable” – May 2017
(6) DWD (Deutscher Wetterdienst): 66 weather stations in Germany over 278 days of data recording, 2017-2018
(7) Dr Hartz Birgit (BAST), Speed on German highways in heavy rain, 4th International Symposium on Highway Geometric Design, June 2-5, 2010, Valencia, Spain.

SOURCE: Michelin

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