The Active Wheel System
Before Michelin began wrapping halos of rubber around the wheels of our cars, the hoops were made completely from wood -- horse and buggy style. That's what we call a serious innovation, and the French tire maker has got plenty of ideas to keep it at the forefront of rolling technology. The latest bit of high-tech kit revolving out of Michelin's design department is known as the Active Wheel system. Two motors, one to propel the car and another for the integrated suspension system, sit inside the hub and allow the entire drivetrain to fit neatly enclosed at each corner.
This innovative design would potentially allow for an amazingly diverse set of platforms that could be engineered to accept the same set of shoes. Depending on the size of the actual Active Wheels used, the technology could be applied to virtually any type of car. With so much going on in just the rolling-stock, it should come as no surprise that Michelin is looking for partners to help offload some of the rest of the car's design and has just signed an agreement with CITIC Guoan Mengguli Corp. in China. Important bits like the lithium-ion battery development will be carried out in China where test-mules equipped with lithium-powered Active Wheels are already running around city streets.
The Venturi Volage
The Michelin Active Wheel inaugurates a new era in road transportation in which a car's road, safety, energy and environmental performance achieve unprecedented levels. This is because of a miniature drive engine and an electrical suspension system incorporated into the wheel. These technologies developed by Michelin have made it possible to completely rethink the car.
The most advanced illustration of this achievement is the new Venturi Volage, which is being unveiled in a world premiere at the 2008 Paris Motor Show. Fitted with the Michelin Active Wheel, the car is a roadster that is well ahead of its time. And with good reason... With its innovative design that is free of all constraints (like the need to house an engine) and its electrical drive motor, the Venturi Volage delivers outstanding road performance, safety and comfort-all in an environmentally friendly vehicle.