The automotive landscape is changing and evolving, and along with that, the adjacent industries as well. To show their commitment to a sustainable future, premium tire maker Michelin in partnership with numerous partners has been hosting their Movin’On Summit in Montreal since 2017. The 3-day event gathers some of the most brilliant minds in the world and covers topics like self-driving cars, alternative fuels, smart cites, transit and travel alternatives.
This year, there were over 5,000 sustainable mobility experts in Montreal who were part of a variety of workshops, panel discussions, exhibits and one-on-one demonstrations. Michelin says that over 150 partners were part of the event this year, at an unprecedented scale.
To make things even more dynamic and interesting, participants also had to opportunity to ride in some of the latest electric cars and plug-in hybrids, as well as experience some unique self-driving products that aim to help with urban mobility. Read: electric and autonomous driving micro-buses.
Another interesting topic this year in Montreal was the idea of circular economy and mobility. For those of you who are not familiar with that train of thought, allow me to briefly explain it. For years, we looked at various method to decrease traffic in urban areas – from shared economies to increased public transportation methods – but what if there is a simpler and more effective solution? Working from home is one alternative solution which not only decreasing traffic in cities but also improves the quality of life for employees.
Electro-mobility was of course a major topic in Montreal and several companies have displayed their latest and greatest EV products in form of light and heavy-duty trucks, cars, bicycles, scooters and even shuttle busses. BMW was on site to showcase their fully-electric i3 city car, as well as a series of plug-in hybrids – BMW i8 and 530e.
Toyota was present as well and they chose to feature their Mirai model built on the fuel-cell hydrogen technology. The envelope is being pushed even more with freightliners being showcased with renewable natural gas and compressed natural gas platforms.
Smart cities is not anymore a buzzword and there are many innovative around the world which will connect the infrastructure of the cities with autonomous driving vehicles. With the help of the Canadian Government, the city of Ottawa has started a project called V2X which will setup the required infrastructure for self-driving vehicles, being cars, busses or other forms of transportations. The high-tech includes GPS sensors, radars and 5G broadband.
One of Michelin’s contribution to a sustainable future came in the form of an airless tire prototype. Called the Michelin Uptis, for “Unique Puncture-proof Tire System,” the new tire builds on the company’s all-in-one Tweel, and its 3D-printed Vision concept tire. Its mix of composite rubber and resin embedded fiberglass lets it operate at highway speeds and while is not as visually appealing as conventional tires, Michelin claims it’s just as comfortable.
Michelin see this as particularly important for a future dominated by electric and self-driving cars. The airless tires reduces the need for environmentally harmful tire production, and eliminates the need for a spare tire that adds weight and shrinks fuel economy. This tire would be also particularly useful for self-driving vehicles, helping them run around the clock without additional tire maintenance.
BMW Group was also represented by the i Division who hosted a series of panels talking about the challenges of electrification, megacities and how BMW plans to take them on. The company also outlined their autonomous driving strategy, an important topic in Munich these days.
One important guest at Movin’On was FIA President Jean Todt. Since 2009, Todt became President of “eSafety Aware!” for the promotion of the smart vehicles and new safety technologies. During his panel, the legendary Frenchman talked about racing and electric racing, as well as how the safety measures applied in various championships have transferred onto the road.
During the closing ceremonies of the 2019 Movin’On, CEO and president of Michelin, Florent Menegaux, was joined by UN Special Envoy for the 2019 Climate Summit Luis Alfonso de Alba. The duo emphasized the urgency of plans that need to be put in place, rather than a passive approach to a fast changing environment.