I don’t know about you but even though I have been driving for the best part of two decades I always get a tiny bit nervous in heavy rain conditions. Aqua-planning is not a great experience and there is nothing worse than not trusting its car’s behaviour when driving under the rain. But it all comes to tires in the end, not so much the car itself. Michelin has been at the forefront of tyre technologies for decades and their latest invention could have the potential to make me feel much better about driving under heavy rain.
Unlike conventional tires, the Michelin Premier A/S tire uses a new design combined with a unique set of features to prolong wet traction even as the tire becomes worn. 3 main elements provide this traction over time: high-traction rubber compound, expanding rain grooves and emerging grooves. What does it all mean I hear you ask.
Well the technology behind long-term wet traction is actually rather interesting. The high-traction rubber compound is a proprietary rubber compound with extreme amounts of silica and sunflower oil. The silica provides the bonding strength and adherence to keep the treads on the road for high traction in wet conditions. The sunflower oil allows the tire to grip on wet roads at lower temperatures. The new tire also has rain grooves with a specific geometric shape that gets wider as the tread wears, helping maintain the amount of water that the tire can channel away. Finally this tire has another set of grooves that are initially hidden when new but then emerge to maintain wet traction in the long run.