Michelin experts talk electric racing, Pilot Sport EV

RFID Chips And Other Formula E Tire Surprises

The FIA Formula E Championship runs on Michelin tires. Not just any Michelin tires, of course. The manufacturer has very specific rubber for the electric series – the Pilot Sport EV – with technology it expects will eventually find its way to the wheels of your own car. In fact, they already look like they would be at home on any modern vehicle.

That's partly because they are treaded. Typically, open-wheel racers like the ones competing in this electric series run on slicks as smooth as the sax of Stan Getz on The Girl from Ipanema, and as sticky as the vocal hooks embedded in the melody of that bossa nova classic (you're humming it now, aren't you). It's a great design for traditional racing, but they wear out fast.

Here, though, the tires have grooves and an asymmetric pattern not unlike those found on the Michelin Pilot Sport 3 and a tougher rubber compound. This allows teams to use the same tire in wet or dry conditions, making it easier to stay within the environmentally-friendly 10-tire limit per race weekend.

The Pilot Sport EV also resembles what you see on the street because they are 18-inch hoops, larger than what you would traditionally find on a race car. It's another of several subtle ways in which Formula E-specific technology relates to your own driving experience.

At the Long Beach, California edition of the Championship, we had the opportunity hang out in the busy Michelin tire tent – where all the mounting, balancing and other tire-related activity happens – and learn more about how they roll in this unique series. Our learned liaisons for this presentation were Serge Grinsin, who is the lead guy for every round, along with Ken Payne, whose official title is Motorsports Technical Director at Michelin North America. While our video above only features Grinsin, Payne reinforced how the tire maker's approach to efficiency, grip and wear is aimed at achieving a total performance balance. Click on the video above to join us.

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