Michelin fuses winter tech with a summer tire

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Beginning in May 2015, drivers in Europe will be able to purchase a summer tire that’s certified for winter use. Group Michelin says its CrossClimate delivers safety in all weather conditions all year long.

Michelin says the CrossClimate is the only tire that combines the benefits of summer and winter tires. The company says it brakes in short distances on dry ground, has earned the top “A” rating for wet braking on European tire labels, and is ready for winter driving with the three peak mountain snow flake symbol on the sidewall.

Michelin says the CrossClimate addresses an increasingly urgent need among European drivers to feel safer when faced with unstable, unpredictable weather conditions. Road conditions can change from one day to the next, during the same day or sometimes even in a matter of hours. Michelin says the CrossClimate is built to offer reassurance for drivers in all of those varying conditions.

The company says a 2014 GfK survey of European consumers shows:

- 65% of European motorists use summer tires all year long. The figure is lower in Germany – 20% - where regulations require special equipment for winter conditions. In France, where there are no laws governing tire use, 76% of motorists rely on summer tires yearround.

- Between 3% (in Germany) and 7% (in France) use winter tires all year long.

- 63% of customers in the United Kingdom and 47% in France mistakenly think they have all-season tires on their vehicles. They’re actually driving on summer tires.

The CrossClimate features a combination of summer and winter tire technologies. An “innovative rubber compound” gives grip, and has the flexibility to enhance the rubber’s ability to match every variation in the road surface, regardless of the temperature or whether the road is wet, dry or snow covered.

There’s also a new material under the tread, which Michelin says helps the tire’s fuel efficiency due to its ability to resist heat build up. The variable angled V-shaped tread optimizes grip on the snow, and the self-blocking 3D sipes work like a claw on the snow, improving traction. The vertical and lateral waves in the sipes have a self-blocking function, which means they work together to give the tread blocks more rigidity and make the tire more stable. This improves steering precision while also enhancing dry road performance. Beveled angles on the rubber blocks provide good ground contact to improve braking on dry surfaces, and the angles combined with sipes provide braking and traction on snow.

The CrossClimate will be available in 23 sizes ranging from 15 to 17 inches, covering 70% of the cars sold in Europe. Michelin says it will add more sizes in 2016.

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