Michelin: Advancing Mobility Through Design
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Michelin Challenge Design


DETROIT (January 10, 2010) — At the 2010 North American International Auto Show, the original equipment manufacturer’s commitment to electric drive vehicles has never been more apparent. Leading tire innovator MICHELIN is joining the charge with a display of vehicles fitted with Michelin tires from the past, present and future.

Venturi Volage

  Venturi Volage

The result of close technological collaboration between Venturi Automobiles and MICHELIN, the Venturi Volage, presented for the first time at the "Mondial 2008" (Paris Motor Show), marks a major step forward in the evolution of the automobile.

This new Venturi incorporates innovations which have enabled radical changes in terms of the vehicle's architecture, style, dynamic behavior and, more generally, the design of a modern vehicle.

The presentation of the Venturi Volage reinforces Venturi's capability for constant innovation, as well as its position as one of the most advanced companies in the field of electric vehicles.

With four drive wheels with active suspension, the Venturi Volage has no equivalent. MICHELIN Active Wheel technology incorporates two electric motors per wheel (one for suspension and one for drive) for a total of eight electric motors piloted in real time by spearhead electronics.

Like the mechanism of a watch, all the components, motors, gear reduction units and suspensions, are miniaturized and built into the wheels.

The active electric shock absorber system allows for total adaptation to the type of road surface and driving. Combining Michelin's experience in the area of tire/road interface with that of Venturi for the chassis, the Venturi Volage represents in its road holding, drivability and silent functioning, the sum of today's automotive technology.

Playing down the mechanical aspect in favour of electronics, close to the concept of a robot, this car belongs to a new era, the digital era. Thanks to a dashboard touch screen, the driver can configure the vehicle entirely as he wishes. This total control marks significant progress in terms of management, particularly of the energy stored in the car's batteries. The driver can, for example, decide to give preference in certain cases to range rather than power, comfort rather than speed, an important factor for an electric car.

The only part that the Venturi Volage shares with the Venturi Fétish is its carbon fiber bodywork. Developed by the Venturi Design Office, this body is still a unique concept worldwide, as it is the only one to have been specifically designed to be that of an electric car and thus carry batteries within its very structure.

Thanks to this innovative design, both the Fétish and the Volage benefit from an unequalled level of safety, for both the cars' passengers and also the batteries they carry.

The ideal weight distribution of the Venturi Volage's - 45 percent at the front, 55percent at the rear - and its perfectly mastered weight of 1,075 kilos enable it to attain 100 km/hr (62 mph) in less than 5 seconds.

La Jamais Contente

 La Jamais Contente

La Jamais Contente (The Never Satisfied) was the first vehicle to go over 100 km/h (62 mph) and was equipped with MICHELIN® tires.

It was a torpedo shaped electric vehicle made of Partinium, an alloy of laminated aluminum, tungsten and magnesium that was very expensive and lightweight, and had never been used in a car before. La Jamais Contente had two direct drive Postel-Vinay 25kW motors, running at 200 volts drawing 124 amperes for about 68 horsepower.

La Jamais Contente set the land speed record, according to sources, on April 29 or May 1, 1899 at Achères,Yvelines near Paris, France. The vehicle was driven by Camille Jenatzy, a Belgian, who became known for his record-breaking speed runs. Jenatzy reached the speed of 105.882 km/h (65.792 mph), besting the previous record, held by Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat, who had attained 92.78 km/h (57.65 mph).

Willing to carve a place in the then promising Parisian electric carriage market, Jenatzy started a manufacturing plant which would produce many electric carriages and trucks. He fiercely competed against carriage maker Jeantaud in publicity stunts to see which made the fastest vehicles. In order to assure the triumph of his company, Jenatzy built a bullet shaped prototype in order to break the 100 km/h barrier. His record stood for three years. 


 Nissan Mixim EV

The Mixim EV is an electric sports car powered by advanced, compact Lithium-Ion batteries driving two of Nissan's 'Super Motor' electric motor/generator packs - one each for the front and rear axles. Nissan developed the Mixim along the principles of the Nissan Green Program.

Fitted with MICHELIN® PS2 tires size 225/40ZR18 in the front and 255/35R19 in the rear, Mixim has a top speed of 180 km/h with a potential maximum range of 250km from the two 50kW electric motors. The quick charging Lithium-Ion batteries can be fully charged between 20 and 40 minutes.

Nissan's Mixim looks like no other small city car. The dramatic swept-back wraparound windscreen is the dominant feature, inspired by a crash helmet's visor.

The flowing roofline finishes at a sharply truncated rear hatch and large scissor-hinged doors encroach into the roof making access easy.

The Mixim has a centrally mounted driver seat with two recessed passenger seats at each side of the driver, while a fourth seat is folded in the luggage area. The driver's seat can move aside to aid passengers' entry and exit.

Mixim has a 2530mm wheelbase, and is just 3700mm long, 1800mm wide and 1400mm high. The lightweight composite body allows a kerb weight of just 950kg.

There are a number of unique features inside Mixim including the LCD screen which displays vehicle speed, distance covered and power usage. There are rear view cameras in place of door mirrors that relay the view from behind onto screens at each end of the dash. In addition, there is a forward-facing camera that gives the driver an accurate real-time depiction of the road ahead.

Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin ( designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy duty trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel guides, maps and atlases covering Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. Michelin is recognized as the leading innovator in the tire industry. The Michelin brand is the top selling tire brand worldwide. Worldwide sales for the Michelin Group were 16.4 billion euros in 2008. Sales for the North American operation in 2008 were $8.3 billion1. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America employs approximately 21,500 and operates 18 major manufacturing plants in 16 locations.

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For more information, visit or contact:

Lynne Fowler
Michelin North America, Inc.
Office: 1 864 458 6365
Cell: 1 864 561 9914

Stephanie Brinley
EMC Strategic Communications
Office: 1-248-816-0108


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