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The 12th Michelin Challenge Bibendum launches in Chengdu, China


11-14 November, Chengdu. Created in 1998 to mark the 100th birthday of Bibendum, the famed Michelin Man, the Michelin Challenge Bibendum was organized this year around the theme of “innovation in mobility at the heart of growth and urban well-being“. The 2014 event, held in Chengdu, brought together carmakers, OEMs, public and private sector operators, academics, research institute members, political officials and NGOs committed to driving change in the area of sustainable development. Ruder Finn provided strategic counsel, media outreach and communications, including onsite media management.

This international event provided a unique opportunity for participants to make the case for, and experiment with, new solutions to make mobility safer, cleaner, more connected and more accessible. Together, the stakeholders committed themselves to programs and policies designed to respond to the mobility challenges that are part and parcel of social and economic development.

In response to societal demand, five areas of interest were a particular focus this year:

  • Setting ambitious CO2 reduction objectives worldwide
  • Creating ultra-low emission zones in cities
  • Deploying door-to-door transport solutions
  • Reinventing last-mile delivery logistics
  • Promoting public and private investment

At the first Michelin Challenge Bibendum in 1998, Nissan presented a prototype car equipped with a lithium battery. Today, there are vehicles on the road that use this technology. At the 2007 Michelin Challenge Bibendum in Shanghai, Renault unveiled a Logan that emitted 72 grams of CO2 per kilometer in normal driving conditions, and the race for low emissions was on. In Rio de Janeiro in 2010, it was proven that cars could aim for emissions of 50 grams of CO2 per kilometer and the 2011 Berlin event confirmed the existence of a market for fuel-cell batteries.

At the 12th Michelin Challenge Bibendum, Michelin presented innovations that will help to bring about a real improvement in the well-being of users and of society as a whole. 

1) The tire used in the Formula E championship As the sole supplier for the FIA Formula E championship, Michelin has designed a tire adapted to the special requirements of this spectacular competition, which takes place in cities around the world and, therefore, in all-weather conditions. This revolutionary 18-inch tire is also perfectly suited for road vehicles, making motorsports an experimental laboratory for broader use. 

2) Agricultural tires with Ultraflex technology to meet the needs of farmers and farm equipment manufacturers. Michelin tires made with this technology benefit from their unique rubber compound and architecture that make it possible to carry heavy loads and operate at very low pressure. This architecture meets a threefold objective: protecting soil, increasing load capacity and reducing fuel consumption. As a result, yields are considerably improved.  

3) Selfseal technology integrates a unique rubber compound that immediately plugs any holes in the tread. These tires, which are set to be on the market from 2015, will help to improve safety for drivers and passengers, especially in emerging markets where roads are not as safe as in Europe.

This year, the Michelin Challenge Bibendum has evolved into a forward-looking “Think and Action Tank.” Work carried out by international experts throughout the year led to the publication of a Green Paper in Chengdu. The Michelin Challenge Bibendum is now a permanent platform dedicated to the mobility of the future and its goal is to become a global benchmark in this area.