DETROIT—When it comes to the health of the planet, the world is at a crossroad. And it's turning to transportation for directions moving forward.
It makes sense that transportation would be called on to lead in the area of emissions reduction because when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, transportation is the largest contributor, accounting for 29 percent of those emissions in 2019, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection agency.
At Motor Bella Sept. 21, Alexis Garcin, chairman and president of Michelin North America Inc., sat down with Amelia DeLuca, managing director of sustainability for Delta Air Lines Inc., to discuss what sustainability looks like both on the ground and in the air.
"Clearly, the automotive industry is going through different revolutions," Garcin said. "The first one is the electrical revolution, no doubt. The second one is a digital revolution and the third one is an environmental revolution. … One way that Michelin wants to contribute to better and cleaner mobility is by providing different tires that will be sustainable, connected and rechargeable."
To achieve this, Michelin is investing in research and development efforts that allow for more sustainable manufacturing, the use of renewable materials and implementation of technologies that help to reduce waste. Michelin, for instance, believes that 3D printing can be a key technology in the manufacturing of retreads for passenger tires—a practice it sees as "recharging."
Michelin also believes it has a leadership role in the area of sustainability. After all, tires are a critical part of how efficiently a vehicle operates.
"I think," Garcin said, "people underestimate how critical the tire might be when it comes to mobility."
To illustrate, Garcin pointed to the role tires play on EVs. Here, he said, tires go well beyond the traditional expectations of function and safety, expanding the vehicle's performance and enhancing passengers' experiences.
EVs are heavier and exhibit higher torque, Garcin said, noting that this happens when accelerating and with regenerative braking. EVs also are extremely quiet, the lack of engine leading to nearly silent performance. Finally, he said, the range of the battery is critical.