Cristina Commendatore | FleetOwner
Karen Schwartz, B2B VP of marketing for Michelin North America, details the tire maker's new X Line Energy Z+ steer tire.

Michelin adds new low-rolling resistance steer tire, announces Utility Trailer partnership

Feb. 28, 2023
At TMC 2023, Michelin North America detailed its Energy Guard Lite Skirt Kit, as well as a new partnership with Utility Trailer. The tire maker also introduced its latest low-rolling resistance long-haul steer tire.

ORLANDO, Florida—Michelin unleashed several new products here at American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council’s 2023 Annual Meeting that align with the tire manufacturer’s sustainability campaign.

Among its announcements, Michelin said that its Energy Guard Lite Skirt Kit is ready to hit the road and help reduce fuel costs for fleet owners across North America. The tire maker also introduced a new partnership with Utility Trailer and a new long-haul steer tire during TMC’s spring event at the Orange County Convention Center.

X Line Energy Z+ long-haul steer tire

The Michelin X Line Energy Z+ tire, Michelin’s newest addition to the Michelin X Line Energy Z long-haul product line launched in 2016, features low-rolling resistance.

“The Michelin X Line Energy Z+ tire’s enhanced durability and traction means you can drive with complete confidence as the miles continue to accrue on your fleet,” said Karen Schwartz, B2B VP of marketing for Michelin North America. “This product will not replace the X Line Energy Z but is an additional offer for those long-haul fleets that value optimal fuel efficiency leading to improved total cost of ownership.”

The new tire uses both Infinicoil and Regenion sculpture technology. Infinicoil features a continuous steel wire, up to a quarter mile in length, wrapped around the tire circumference to make it more stable and durable throughout its service life. Regenion utilizes metal 3D printing techniques that enable the tread design to evolve as it wears, giving drivers the grip they need over the tire's service life in all conditions.

“The 18/32-in.-deep tread design of the Michelin X Line Energy Z+ tire features Regenion technology, and an evolving tread design allows additional tread grooves to develop at lower tread depths,” Schwartz said. “This gives a cost-competitive advantage to owners as the tire performance will be enhanced, allowing for longer use, less irregular wear, and new-tire-like traction throughout the tread life.’’

Expected to launch in the third quarter of this, the Michelin X Line Energy Z+ will be offered only in 295/75R22.5 LRH.

The tire is coming to market as an output of the U.S. Department of Energy's Super Truck II program, where Michelin partnered with Daimler Truck North America.

Energy Guard Lite Skirt Kit

According to Michelin, the skirt kit’s new integrated rib cover allows for easier installation, using three brackets compared with the standard four to five brackets. Its top fairing is compatible with all trailer configurations and flush to the edge, so it doesn’t interfere with or cause damage while docking. It also offers up to 66% higher ground clearance (15 in. vs. 9 in.) and lighter weight to maximize load capacity, the company pointed out.     

“This latest edition to the Energy Guard family is going to mean even more savings to the fleet owners and drivers on the road today who want a concise, lower-maintenance SmartWay solution,” said Schwartz. “This latest addition to fleet accessories is expected to reduce overall operational costs, saving up to 7.2 gallons for every 1,000 miles driven when paired with a 53-ft. box trailer.”

Another feature of the Michelin Energy Guard Lite is the integrated stiffener, which allows for the use of three Generation-2 brackets while reducing weight and installation time. The modular solution, which fits almost all trailer sizes from 28-ft. pup trailers to 53-ft. box trailers, can help simplify maintenance and stock management.                                                                             

Also debuting as part of the Energy Guard line are the Michelin Energy Guard Mud Flaps designed to reduce vehicle drag. The low-flex and anti-sail design helps keep Energy Flaps straight while the vehicle is in motion. The mounted surface assures optimal installation without drilling. The new mud flaps will be available in the following sizes: 18 in. wide by 30 in. long, 24 x 24, 24 x 30, and 24 x 28.

The Energy Guard Mud Flap was designed with UV resistance to withstand operating temperatures from -40 degrees F to 212 degrees F (-40 degrees C to 100 degrees C). It also is designed to increase safety with dispersed water spray downward, away from vehicles and out of the driver’s sideview, Schwartz said.

Utility Trailer partnership

Michelin and Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co. are partnering to deliver Michelin’s Energy Guard Mud Flaps as standard fitment for all of Utility’s refrigerated trailers starting in the second half of 2023.

The accessory, also available to dry van customers, is designed to reduce fuel and maintenance costs to all fleet customers.

Designed with fuel savings and safety in mind, the new louvered design aims to reduce vehicle drag; optimizes louver spacing for high air pass-through; and features a low-flex, anti-sail design to help keep mud flaps straight and flat while in motion. They are also designed to deflect road spray and debris downward, as well as enable improved side-view visibility for drivers.

"Michelin's Energy Guard Mud Flap coupled with Utility's Side Skirt and optional Trailer Tail is designed to help meet Utility's goal of making our refrigerated trailer the most aerodynamic and efficient refrigerated trailer on the market," said Steve Bennett, president and COO of Utility. "For additional fuel savings, Utility now offers a 36-lb. aluminum wheel that has an optional aerodynamic wheel cover as a retrofit option that can be provided by your local Utility dealer."

Built with an impact-, temperature-, and chemical-resistant copolymer, the Michelin Energy Guard Mud Flaps are 24 in. wide by 28 in. long and weigh 7 lb. per pair. Flaps also feature patented hole patterns and extensions for correct placement without drilling new holes in standard mud flap hangers. Installation time is typically five to 10 minutes, according to Michelin.

About the Author

Cristina Commendatore

Cristina Commendatore is the Executive Editor of FleetOwner magazine. She has reported on the transportation industry since 2015, covering topics such as business operational challenges, driver and technician shortages, truck safety, and new vehicle technologies. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.