Pilot Sport 4 and Pilote Sport 4 AS tire tests: Michelin moves to EV configuration

• Auto123 tested Michelin’s new Pilot Sport 4 and Sport 4 AS tires.

Sonoma, California — The French manufacturer Michelin held a media conference in mid-March at the Sonoma circuit in California. The Michelin Sustainability Summit aimed to unveil the firm’s most recent program to promote the environment and sustainability.

Part of the day took place in a conference room with the multiple vice-presidents of the North American faction including President Alexis Garcin. Then, it was mainly on the track that we were able to experiment with the first products resulting from this orientation, namely performance tires and prototypes dedicated to electric cars.

See also: Buying guide: the best summer and all-season tires for electric cars in 2023

The realities of electricity
The Michelin representatives explained this well. With future electric cars and vans, we will have to deal with the additional weight of the batteries, the higher torque of the electric motors and the silence of the drive train which will require more silence from the tires when they contact the ground.

With all these requirements, it will take some time before designers arrive at ideal solutions down the line. But for the moment, Michelin, to which we owe so many innovations including the radial carcass tire, those with low rolling resistance and the famous Tweel, the airless tire, is starting to offer us tires specifically intended for vehicles. electric, but also usable with conventional vehicles.

During the presentation, the approximately 200 “ingredients” or materials that go into the composition of tires were discussed. However, when asked what “modifications” were made to the carcasses or construction of the new EV tires, Michelin remained more discreet. We were told that technology was always evolving.

On track
The afternoon took place on the track where Michelin had prepared a group of luxury and performance cars. They were equipped with the first tires displaying EV technology, the Pilot Sport 4 and Pilote Sport 4 AS. Other vehicles used for the exercise included Porsche Taycans, Mercedes-Benz EQS and electric Genesis GV70s.

In addition, there were two Ford Explorers fitted with Primacy A/S tires which, according to technicians, are experimental products to be used to evaluate their behavior on vehicles powered by gasoline engines.

The instructors’ role was to lead each group over three laps, including the two sports cars followed by the SUVs. Obviously, despite the speed being still fast, these instructors had to encourage us to respect a reasonable pace.

To start the exercise, I chose one of the Ford ExplorersTo start the exercise, I chose one of the Ford Explorers

Primacy first
Following the recommendation of the instructors and technicians, I chose to start the session behind the wheel of one of the two Ford Explorers. My role was to evaluate the experimental Primacy tires while trying to keep up with the pace set by the higher performance cars.

These famous experimental tires are Primacy A/S 255/55 R20These famous experimental tires are Primacy A/S 255/55 R20

Bearing in mind that these are experimental tires, I attacked the circuit following the faster cars. During the first round, the lead instructor took into account the handicap presented by the SUV. However, he was going fast enough for me to see that these Michelin tires of more modest and more common construction could allow me to keep up with the group. The instructor, driving his Tesla, therefore accelerated his pace.

Despite the weight of the Ford SUV and its more modest mechanics, the Explorer still allowed me to keep up with the small group of sports cars. Sure, the Primacy tires screamed in the corners, but at no point did they feel like they were going to stall. I have the impression that these Michelins will not remain experimental tires for long.

The most spectacular cars used for this presentation were Porsche TaycansThe most spectacular cars used for this presentation were Porsche Taycans

The Pilot Sport 4 on the Porsche Taycan
After the laps behind the wheel of the Explorer, I took the wheel of the Porsche Taycan, shod with the Pilot Sport 4 which, in fact, must have represented the original tire fitted on such a car.

The Porsches were equipped with the new Michelin Pilot Sport 4 EV performance tiresThe Porsches were equipped with the new Michelin Pilot Sport 4 EV performance tires

It took very little for me to get a taste for the speed that this Michelin could allow me on the circuit. This Taycan, so refined in terms of handling, just asks to drive faster and faster. Despite the demands of the circuit, the Michelins did not scream at all, which indicates that the tire was far from being at the limit of its grip. In fact, he was helping control the car.

To let us try the Pilot Sport All Season 4, Michelin chose electric Mercedes-Benz EQS sedansTo let us try the Pilot Sport All Season 4, Michelin chose electric Mercedes-Benz EQS sedans

The Pilot Sport 4 A/S on the Mercedes-Benz EQS
The other EV tire already in production at Michelin is the all-season (but not all-conditions) version of the Pilot Sport 4, and it was fitted to Mercedes-Benz EQS. If you know anything about cars, you know that the EQS sedan is not a sports car like the Taycan, but that it nevertheless displays more than respectable handling and road behavior.

Mercedes-Benz Pilot Sport All Season 4 EVs are all-season tiresMercedes-Benz Pilot Sport All Season 4 EVs are all-season tires

On the track, still following the instructor and, this time, the Porsche, the EQS forced me to drive at a higher rev. There were no more Explorers in our group which encouraged the instructor to drive faster. So I accelerated to follow the instructor’s Porsche and Tesla and, once again, I understood that the tire was doing its job very well.

However, when used with the sedan, the Michelins began to lament – ​​very discreetly – in sharp curves. Despite everything, the car responded well to this type of exercise. I even pushed my luck a little more in the S-bends, riding with a little arrogance on the curbs at each curve… trusting the Michelins.

Michelin also allowed us to get to know the powerful Lucid Air Sapphire better.Michelin also allowed us to get to know the powerful Lucid Air Sapphire better.

A ride in Lucid
At the end of the day, Michelin offered us other vehicles, including the new Lucid Air Sapphire sedan with three electric motors (1234 horsepower) and all-wheel drive. Unfortunately, Lucid executives didn’t want us to drive the car, instead entrusting the wheel to one of their representatives. Of course, the car was equipped with Pilot Sport 4 EVs.

The Lucids were shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S EVsThe Lucids were shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S EVs

The test driver pushed the car to the extreme, causing intentional skids to demonstrate to us the astonishing power of this Lucid, but also that the Michelins are capable of keeping up with the pace… up to their limit.

At the end of the program, Michelin, in collaboration with Daimler Trucks, allowed us to drive an all-electric Freightliner tractor equipped with highway tires, also classified as “EV” (Electric Vehicle).

Even electric-powered heavy goods vehicles are now entitled to tires specifically designed for their functionsEven electric-powered heavy goods vehicles are now entitled to tires specifically designed for their functions

For the moment, nothing has transpired regarding the prices of these Michelin tires or when the entire range will be available in an EV version. But we can bet that the company’s laboratories will not be idle.

Original content from auto123.

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