It's been a rather odd few weeks. So much has gone on and as a result you are now going to be inundated with posts from me which I do hope you will read and enjoy. These posts will include my Festival of Speed Gumpert crash, meeting ex Stig Ben Collins on HMS Victory and various car reviews. I am going to kick things off though with a recent trip to Stockholm with Michelin tyres.
You all know I am not one for the boring and dull statistics right? So this trip was potentially going to be a nightmare for me as there was no driving, just statistics and facts and experts. Still, it was in Stockholm, it was in a lovely hotel and Michelin have always been the market leader on exciting new products so I flat packed my suitcase and off I went.
Stockholm is an interesting place for a girl like me. I failed to see any cars that really interested me or shops that made me want to throw my credit card and a note saying 'size 7 send to Hayling' through their letter box BUT it's a very pretty very tidy place and it is FULL and I mean FULL of very very handsome men and being this was a Michelin event, very handsome men that kept coming at me with bottles of champagne. Perfect. But the point of this event wasn't my hosts incredible evening's entertainment, it was to understand WHY Michelins latest tyre, the Energy Saver+, is rumored to be one of the most efficient and energy saving tyres on the market.
Let's start with something boring. The tyre industry is now having to use a labeling system. This is to make YOUR job easier when it comes to choosing tyres. Does it? No I'm not sure it really does. It's a bit like the food labeling system and the CO2 emissions thing and all the other useless labels that probably haven't really been thought about that much and are actually pretty misleading. But none the less there is now a label system which you can see here explained by Michelin in a nice simple way.
The reason I say it's confusing is because of what exactly all the different grades mean. One of the tests is on wet braking. This is great. We need to see how well a car brakes in the wet but did you know that 70% of all the accidents on our roads happen in dry conditions on dry roads. The label gives no indication as to how well tyres perform in these conditions. The next test is about fuel economy. Whilst this is all well and good you need to remember that YOU are the maker of your own destination when it comes to fuel economy. Buy an A rated tyre but drive like a juvenile delinquent and have all the wrong pressures in your tyres will mean you will have a far worse reality rating than if you buy a B rated tyre and drive in a more educated manner with perfect PSI. So whilst its great to see the fuel economy rating I think I would have rather seen a rating for tyre longevity or road handling. Well instead of this we get a third rating for external noise. Hmm. Okay, I am sure this is important but really how many of us honestly worry about the external noise as more of a priority than, as mentioned before how long the bloody thing lasts?
I may sound obtuse here but the facts are some tyres are able to achieve an A rating which will encourage consumers to buy them because they think they are safer or better value for the money when in reality they are potentially buying a tyre constructed around the tests for the regulations but NOT anything else. So where does the compromise come in? You may be getting a Double A rating on wet braking and fuel economy but that particular tyre could have a G rating on dry braking and Longevity.
Anyway as misleading as I think they are the tyre labeling is here to stay so my suggestion is you do more research than just relying on what that tells you and this is why Michelin and, as a focus, the Energy Saver+ is so important. Michelin's strategy is focussed on combining safety in all driving conditions (dry and wet, straight and curves) Improved fuel efficiency and longer total mileage these are areas that are important to me when I buy rubber. They are what makes a different to my pocket, my safety and my environment.
Michelin highlighted just how good its newest addition to the range is buy working with DEKRA to perform the most comprehensive real life test thats ever been done. Pitting the Energy Saver+ against the equivalent tyre from each other manufacturer. This test was pretty hardcore and involved 500km per day, 30,000km in total through 25 european countries. Watch this video about the Michelin Performance Tour for some man facts and keep your eye open for the tasty priest about half way through.
The results of this test were incredible with Michelin leading the way and the Energy Saver+ showing what an outstanding little tyre it is. Best fuel consumption, best wear and best wet braking after 18,000km. The other makes which included Bridgestone, Pirelli, Goodyear and Continental couldn't come close to Energy Saver+ on any of the categories.
Now, playing devil's advocate here, it could be argued that this tyre IS the latest offering from the Michelin camp and the other tyres tested are the current market tyres not necessarily the manufacturers newest tyre and we know Pirelli have something coming out fairly soon. I did discuss this with Michelin and they said they couldn't access prototype tyres for their test and I can see why. I also believe that Michelin would still come out tops if they had and there is no reason that any of the other manufactures couldn't run the exact same test with DEKRA when they finally launch new tyres. I do wish that Michelin had run the old Energy Saver alongside these tests though just to satisfy my curiosity. All this is irrelevant anyway because as it currently stands the test has been done on the current, on the market, tyre models.
I learnt a VERY interesting stat whilst in Stockholm. Michelin allocate 592 Million euros to its Research and Development budget every year. That is an incredible amount of money but perhaps for me unsurprising given the amount of emphasis the company puts on producing a long lasting, well rounded product.
Michelin chose well taking us to Sweden. Stockholm is a no nonsense, calm, clean and efficient place. In fact as I was sipping champagne I looked over the city thinking Stockholm and Bibendum were a match made in heaven.
Well that's it. It's probably the most boring post I have ever written in my life, sorry Michelin but let's face it reading about tyres isn't going to get anyone's pulse racing HOWEVER my next piece includes Mission Motorsport an incredible charity working with Injured troops and the devilishly handsome Ben Collins who will set your pulses racing if you watch this
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