COP21 - Interview T. Gettys - Michelin Group Direction of Research and Development, Member of the Group Executive Committee


COP21 just ended, what first assessment can you draw?

First of all, we can be proud of the agreement that has been reached with a text that limits global warming by 2°C by 2100.

Beyond this agreement, COP21 is the demonstration of converging interests between public and private. This is also the first time that the initiatives of the road transport industry, urban and interurban, are federated around fully assumed responsibilities, with no less than 15 initiatives and 3 major axes of reflection. This is a quite positive result even if we should wait and see how these commitments will be applied.

Within the framework of COP21, Michelin recalled its ambition and its ongoing efforts to reduce CO2 emissions over the next decades. What are the challenges for Research and Development related to this ambition?

The tire plays an important role in fuel consumption of a vehicle and therefore its CO2 emissions. 1 full tank in 5 for cars and 1 in 3 for trucks are used to compensate losses of power generated by the tire when it rolls and becomes distorted on contact with the road.

Consequently, improving the energy efficiency of our products is a major challenge for our Research and Development department. By working on the sculpture, the architecture and the tire’s materials, our worldwide researchers are developing products and services that still use less fuel, enabling the Group to participate in the collective effort in reducing CO2 emissions.

In the light of the ambitions expressed for COP21, how do you see tomorrow's tire?

Tomorrow's tire must help make mobility safer, use less energy and raw materials, be cleaner and more connected, but not neglect the notion of driving pleasure.

This means:

  • significant advances in grip, robustness and longevity;
  • greater use of renewable raw materials;
  • a reduction in tire-generated CO2 emissions;
  • tires that communicate with vehicles and can provide insights into consumer habits so that we can provide the solutions they need.

I have every confidence in the Michelin Group's capacity and strength in innovation to find new disruptive innovations in these different areas. Talent, passion and motivation of our teams enable us to meet these challenges.