Click above for more shots of the Michelin Active Wheel and the Ventire Volage

When one thinks of Michelin, the first thing that often pops up, after the Michelin Man of course, is tires. A tire's design can have a tremendous impact on any given car's performance, both in the traditional sense and for its fuel efficiency. To wit, all the best green cars come equipped with special low rolling resistance tires fitted as standard equipment. Michelin is looking to branch further out into the rolling bits of our future automobiles, and that includes the electric drivetrain. The French tire-maker rolled out its Active Wheel technology earlier this year at the Paris Motor Show on the Venturi Volage.

A total of eight motors are used by Michelin to control a standard automobile that's been equipped with its Active Wheel technology. With so much going on with the rolling stock, Michelin is looking to outside suppliers for help on the rest of the EV architecture and has therefore begun collaborating with CITIC Guoan Mengguli Corp. in China. Already, the two companies have a working prototype built atop a Lifan 520 sedan that can reach 87 mph and go for up to 81 miles before needing a recharge of its lithium ion batteries. The dynamic duo believes it can have the system ready for OEMs by the end of the year. We're not sure if that means in one month or at the end of '09, but we'll keep a close eye on the partnership for further details.

Gallery: Venturi Volage


[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]

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