Not only were the streets of Montreal’s South-Central borough transformed into an urban racing circuit for the first ever Montreal ePRIX (which took place on July 29th and 30th), but the venue is also the latest addition to the urban laboratories used by Michelin to foster innovation in the field of durable mobility.
The logistics of the event may have sparked heated and much-publicized debates, but no one can deny that Montreal has made a bold statement with its role in the field of durable mobility. Michelin is the official manufacturer and supplier of the Pilot Sport EV2 tires used by the 40 Formula E race cars participating in each ePRIX event. For the past three years, the Michelin and Formula E partnership has played a major role in the promotion of durable mobility.
Contrary to other racing series, such as Formula 1, the goal consisted of developing a single tire model able to stand up to the conditions and variances of each venue for the duration of the racing season. “The Formula E race cars compete in various urban environments on public roadways, and are exposed to all sorts of conditions. The tires must excel in hot and cold conditions, rain or shine, in streets where the process of braking to regenerate the batteries becomes infinitely complex,” explained Michelin Motorsport Formula E Championship Program Manager, Serge Grisin.
Based on a street version of the Pilot Sport 4S tire, the technology developed for Formula E competition will inevitably trickle down to the retail tire market. “This series allows us to develop the tire of the future, as we focus on increasing energy efficiency and versatility, thus reducing the production of multiple lines of tires, which in turn reduces the overall consumption of energy and resources, ” added Serge Grisin in a PneuMag interview.
Grip and efficiency
An electric vehicle race in an urban setting requires perfect balance between maximum grip and minimal energy expenditure, as explained by Michelin Group Motorsports Director, Pascal Couasnon. “This season, the main issue in Formula E was the following: how can we match the performance of past seasons while using less material? The end result was a significant reduction in tire weight and energy consumption.”
“For this season, we manufactured a tire with 16% less rolling resistance, which translates into an extra 2 km of autonomy, which equates to approximately one extra lap,” said Couasnon.” In addition, compared to its predecessor, the Pilot Sport EV2 is 1.1 kg lighter ( front tire) and 1.4 kg lighter (rear tire). The overall weight of the vehicle is reduced by 5 kg.
“Michelin has a very long history of motorsport research and development,” he added. “It’s a strategy that dates all the way back to our very first race in 1891: we test our performance to improve our products. Fast-forwarding to today, now we are doing it to promote durable mobility.”