Members of the Michelin Fleet Panel have called for the industry to accelerate progress towards more sustainable tyres and improve support for fleets transitioning to electric vehicles (EVs).
The panel, comprising representatives from some of the UK’s biggest leasing, fleet management and rental companies, as well as several major end-user fleets, addressed a series of industry challenges at a meeting at the Wakefield site of Aston Barclay, the independent remarketing group and vehicle auction house.
Chairing the panel, Martin Thompson, Michelin’s Brand Manager UK & Ireland, briefed the panel on the manufacturer’s target of using 100 per cent sustainable materials in its tyres by 2050 and 40 per cent by 2030 and urged the industry to make quicker progress in reducing the environmental impacts of tyres.
He also reinforced the importance of extracting the full performance out of every tyre, saying:
It’s vitally important we better educate fleet managers and customers about how to avoid unnecessary raw material wastage, specifically that it is safe to use tyres down to the 1.6mm legal tread depth limit.
Some panel members called for the industry to put a greater focus on analysing tyre wear on EVs, saying the current lack of data was making it difficult to make informed buying decisions.
Leasing and rental companies want to be able to communicate that data to their customers so they can speed up their transition to EVs. Michelin is manufacturing tyres specifically for EVs to help with tyre wear and battery range, and that’s a message we are communicating more widely.
Lorna McAtear, Head of Fleet at National Grid, who manages 9,000 vehicles, including 1,500 EVs, said the industry needed to tackle some myths around EVs.
There are some misconceptions that all tyres wear out quicker on EVs. The industry needs to deliver clearer messaging to ensure people have the best performing and safest tyres on their EVs, and that they don’t cost more than tyres for internal combustion-engined vehicles.
It was an excellent panel for learning about the innovations in tyre developments being driven by Michelin and its partners. I was reassured that they are working hard on sustainability and going in the right direction.