Sustainability

Here's how Michelin will make its tires 100% sustainable by 2050

The Michelin VISION tire is the tire of the future for the company

Photo courtesy of Michelin

Sustainability is in focus for most of the world's automakers. Making cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans that pollute the Earth less than their predecessors is their focus alongside emerging safety and driver assistance technology. Others in the auto industry supply chain are also looking to become more sustainable, including Michelin.

The tire company has announced that by 2050, Michelin tires will be made entirely from renewable, recycled, bio sourced, and otherwise sustainable materials. Today, nearly 30 percent of the materials used in manufacturing Michelin Group tires is are sustainable.

A study released last year, Emissions Analytics, an independent global testing and data company that studies real-world emissions and fuel efficiency for passenger and commercial vehicles, found that pollution from tire wear can be 1,000 times worse than what comes out of a vehicle's exhaust pipe. Unlike exhaust pollution, tire and brake pollution is mostly unregulated.

A recipe not as easy as it looks! www.youtube.com

In 2017, Michelin introduced the VISION tire, a concept that is airless, connected, rechargeable, and entirely sustainable. Since then, the company has invested in recycling efforts, buying up rubber pellet recyclers in the State of Georgia and in Spain.

The current lineup of Michelin tires consists of products that contain more than 200 ingredients each. The main part of the equation is natural rubber, which is harvested from rubber trees via a process that requires tapping a tree much in the same way that maple syrup comes from maple trees. Rubber trees traditionally need to be at least six years old before they are harvested.

Other materials in Michelin tires include synthetic rubber, metal, fibers, and components that are designed to strengthen the tire's structure like carbon black, silica, and plasticizers.

In a statement, a spokesperson fro Michelin said, "Michelin's maturity in materials technology stems from the strength of its R&D capabilities, which are supported by 6,000 people working in seven research and development centers around the world and mastering 350 areas of expertise. The commitment of these engineers, researchers, chemists and developers has led to the filing of 10,000 patents covering tyre design and manufacturing. They work hard every day to find the recipes that will improve tyre safety, durability, ride and other performance features, while helping to make them 100-percent sustainable by 2050."

Michelin has partnered with a number of companies to create materials of the future. Axens and IFP Energies Nouvelles, the two companies that are spearheading the BioButterfly project, have been working with Michelin since 2019 on producing bio-sourced butadiene to replace petroleum-based butadiene. Using the biomass from wood, rice husks, leaves, corn stalk, and other plant waste, 4.2 million tons of wood chips could be incorporated into Michelin tires every year with the materials replacement.

A partnership between Michelin and Pyroware can produce recycled styrene from plastics found in packaging. Styrene is used to produce synthetic rubber. Eventually, tens of thousands of tonnes of polystyrene waste could be recycled back into its original products as well as into Michelin tires every year.

Additionally, Michelin will launch the construction of its first tire recycling plant in the world with Encivo, a Swedish company that has developed a patented technology to recover carbon black, pyrolysis oil, steel, gas and other new, high-quality reusable materials from end-of-life tires.

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David Beckham is the new face of Maserati.

Photo courtesy of Maserati

David Beckham is turning his passion for supercars into a side gig. The former Manchester United midfielder has become the new face of Maserati.

Beckham has a long history as a car nut. He's owned Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, McLarens, Cadillacs, Audis, Aston Martins, Jaguars, BMWs, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Hummers, and Jeeps, just to name a few. A year ago an Aston Martin Volante owned by Golden Balls went under the hammer and a little later in the year he was named one of the top five celebrities people would prefer to have deliver their new car to their home.

Maserati has a number of new projects up its sleeve besides partnering with Beckham. The company recently launched the new Ghibli Hybrid, a vehicle that the Modena-based manufacturer sees as a jumping off point for the new version of the brand - one where electrification and performance take center stage. Call it the Italian version of Akio Toyoda's famous "no boring cars" statement.

"The Brand is moving forward, inaugurated a new Era. Maserati is driven to challenge the status quo being innovative by nature, powered by passion, and unique by design. The partnership with David is the embodiment of all these values,: said Paolo Tubito, Maserati Chief Marketing Officer.

For 2021, Maserati also added a trio of Trofeos to its lineup. The The Maserati Levante Trofeo,. Ghibli Trofeo,and Quattroporte Trofeo are the most extreme versions of the vehicles available new from the manufacturer.

Beckham makes his debut in a new movie featuring the Levante Trofeo, performing the "audacious" act of driving a Maserati. The setting is Miami, the home city of Club Internacional de FĂștbol Miami, an MLS soccer club that Becks co-owns with Marcelo Claure, Jorge Mas, Masayoshi Son, and JosĂ© R. Mas.

Maserati and David Beckham: two of a kind www.youtube.com

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The 2022 Lexus ES will debut next week.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The meat and potatoes of the Lexus sedan lineup, the ES, is due for a refresh, and it will get one. The 2022 Lexus ES will be shown publicly for the first time this Sunday as part of the festivities of the Shanghai auto show.

While the photo doesn't tell a lot, there's some things you can bet on in the 2022 ES. For starters, look for all the improvements that the auto has gotten over the last two years to carry over into the new model. That includes the addition of all-wheel drive to the lineup and standard blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.

The ES Black Line may not make its way to the 2022 version of the midsize sedan. Generally, blacked out editions are available only at the tail end of a model run ahead of a refresh or generational redesign. However, the blacked out elements could become available as part of a package.

The headlight photo that Lexus has offered as a teaser shows a housing that is not dissimilar to the one that the Lexus IS wears. However, the daytime running light is on the bottom here, instead off the top. Like the IS, there are strong hood lines.

At the back, the preview video shows a vehicle that is very similar to the current model. It's taillights, a strong chrome line that runs the width of the year, and rear lip spoiler all look mostly same as before.

As for what to expect underneath the body of the car, there's not a lot of indication from the teasers, which leads one to believe that's where the biggest changes are coming. There's a good chance that we'll finally say goodbye to the Lexus touch pad in favor of a touch screen display that's within a comfortable distance.

It's also likely that Lexus will fine tune the dynamics of the ES in a similar fashion to how the Lexus IS got more performance-focused driving dynamics in its latest redo.

Stay tuned for more specifics are the curtain is pulled back on April 19 in China (April 18 in the U.S.).

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