Pierre Varenne is the Managing director of innovation for research and development for Michelin in Switzerland. At the 2011 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Varenne is showing off the active wheel, a new wheel for an electric car.
The evolution of the electric car can be seen in the design of the wheel. In Michelin’s active wheel there is the electric suspension, electric traction, and braking all included in the wheel. This allows more room in the car, more agility, less rolling and swerving in the car. Pitch while braking is gone. This is breakthrough technologies for electric motor vehicles.
Michelin also has a motorized wheel, which is about the same, just no suspension in the wheel.
Varenne has been working on the active wheel and the motorized wheel, testing it with different car manufacturers. The motorized wheel should be ready for primetime in about three years, the active wheel will follow two to three years later. It will take that long before car manufacturers are ready to redesign the car, taking the mass out of the car and putting the technologies in the wheel.