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Michelin North America CEO talks EV, sustainability in South Carolina

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Eighty percent of electric car manufacturers in the U.S. choose Michelin as their tire source.

That’s according to Alexis Garcin, president and CEO of Michelin North America Inc., who was the keynote speaker at the 12th annual South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance Automotive Summit on Wednesday.

Michelin has more than 130 years of innovation under its belt. As a company going 50 years in the South Carolina and one of the first partners of the Inland Port Greer in 2013, Michelin now has 8,000 employees and 14 sites in South Carolina alone. In 2020, Michelin invested $75 million into the state and plans to invest even more in its latest technologies, which will be announced in the next few weeks, said Garcin.

“South Carolina is a place we love to call home,” he said.

Alexis Garcin, president and CEO of Michelin North America Inc., was the keynote speaker at the South Carolina Automotive Summit on Wednesday. (Photo/Krys Merryman)While investing heavily in its people and talent, profitability and sustainability of the planet, Michelin’s focus areas can be broken down into four smaller units: electrification, green trucking with the use of hydrogen, connectivity, and smaller environmental footprint.

From the maker of the first detachable tires of the 19th century, to this idea of “green tires,” Garcin said Michelin believes that at least 50% of every new car to be sold will be fully electric or hybrid by 2030 in the U.S.

Today, that percentage is at around 7% to 8%, Garcin added. “But that figure is increasing very fast.”

Consumers underestimate the important role of a tire, said Garcin.

“I mean they are what keeps you on the road,” he added. “The tire is the most important feature of EVs today, and we believe we are well-positioned to leverage this transition of the market.”

By leveraging data and connectivity, the vision Michelin has is to completely integrate the tires of a car with software to provide a seamless experience when it comes to technology, such as a dashboard that could tell the driver how their tires are running, if they need a tire rotation, what tires are recommended based on their usage, and more.

Michelin’s goal, along with its partners, is to achieve the objective of 100% sustainable materials by 2050. Today’s Michelin tires are more high-tech than ever, comprising of more than 200 components, according to Garcin, noting that the use of sustainable materials has either made the performance of the tires about the same or maybe even better.

By 2030, Michelin tires will be made with 40% sustainable materials across all its lineups, according to Garcin. And by 2050, the tire company will manufacture tires with 100% sustainable materials. Technologies marketed by 2025 include car tires made up of 45% sustainable materials and bus tires made up of 58% sustainable materials.

“Our people are the reason we are one of the best brands in the U.S.,” said Garcin. “They are the heart of everything we do. This award belongs to our people and the work they do every day.”

Reach Krys at 864-640-4418.

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