By Bob Bissler
As part of its official launch of the new X-Ice Xi3 winter tire, Michelin North America Inc. brought 350 of its Canadian and U.S. dealers to Quebec, Canada this week to test it in tough winter conditions.
The company brought in racing instructor Richard Spenard and his team of professional driving instructors to the Mecaglisse motorsports complex in Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains.
There, each day this week groups were given the opportunity to test the tire against leading competing tires through courses that included packed snow, loose snow and solid ice.
Dealers were also able to learn all the details of the new tire, and how it was designed to be an improvement of its predecessors. the X-Ice 1 launched in 2004 and the X-Ice 2, launched in 2008.
The new X-Ice Xi3 is manufactured using third-generation, winter-grip technology. On ice, the tire delivers 17% stronger grip and stops 7% shorter. On snow, the tire provides 6% better traction and stops 3% shorter.
“In developing the X-Ice Xi3, we researched consumers worldwide on what they expect in a winter tire,” says Stephane Beaudoin, training and development manager for Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. “What we learned is that they want good snow braking, good ice braking and good traction. They also want enduring performance, long mileage and good highway handling. Another big factor: they want the tire to be ‘green.’”
In order to meet the green requirement, Michelin engineers designed the tire with the company’s Green X technology. The result is a tire that is highly efficient, with low rolling resistance, for reduced carbon monoxide emissions.
“Longevity is important for consumers; it’s one of the top criteria in shopping,” says Ron Margadonna, Michelin’s senior technical marketing manager. “Longevity is one of our pillars and we take longevity very seriously. As you look at these tires, others get to the 4/32” level of wear much more quickly than the X-Ice 3.”
Michelin says it achieves a higher level of longevity with special tread block technology. This includes the Cross Z sipe that enables stable handling and the Block Edge that provides more grip on snow and ice.
In addition, Micro-Pumps absorb water, which improves tread contact. FleX-Ice, a rubber silica-based compound, offers unsurpassed braking, says Michelin.