Michelin has developed a tyre – the highly energy-efficient Michelin Primacy HP – specifically for the new Opel/Vauxhall Insignia ecoFLEX.

Michelin says the tyre helps to reduce fuel consumption by as much as 0.2 litres per 100 kilometres, thereby lowering CO2 emissions by more than 4 grams per kilometre. In this way, the tyre contributes to the Insignia ecoFLEX’s performance in terms of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions – fewer than 140 grams per kilometre – on a 160-horsepower vehicle.

Michelin claims it has met the challenge of increasing energy efficiency while improving other qualities such as grip and longevity.

Michelin has been involved in GM’s development program since its inception and has set up a dedicated technical team for the Insignia project. The car manufacturer identified very early on the important contribution the tyre can make to a vehicle’s environmental balance. Indeed, tyres account for 20% of total fuel consumption. With each turn of the wheel, the tyre compresses to hug the road and absorb surface irregularities. As its structure is deformed, the rubber heats up and some of the energy is lost, a phenomenon that creates rolling resistance.

In 1992, Michelin demonstrated that integrating silica in tyre rubber compounds would reduce fuel consumption while optimising performance in other key areas, such as grip and wear-resistance. Since the market launch of these first green tyres, Michelin has helped to generate fuel savings of more than 10 billion litres, thereby reducing the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere by 25 million tonnes.

In addition to using silica, Michelin has continued to invest in research and development and has designed a tyre for the Vauxhall Insignia ecoFLEX, which meets the extremely stringent requirements of the car manufacturer’s engineers in terms of grip and fuel efficiency.