Michelin Pilot Alpin cold-weather tyre
products under review
Michelin Pilot Alpin
Is a seasonal change of rubber worth the outlay?
Name Michelin Pilot Alpin
Price £716 per set of 225/60 R16, including
fitting (£1,051 for tested tyres)
Tested by: Simon Harris
When I agreed to run a set of cold weather tyres
on one of the Fleet News test vehicles last year,
I thought the chances of another winter of harsh
conditions two years running would be unlikely.
It was a mild day in mid-October that an ATS
Euromaster technician fitted a new set of boots
to our Ford Mondeo long-term test car.
The Michelin Pilot Alpin are optimised for cold,
wet and wintry weather, and begin to perform
better than standard tyres for traction and grip
when the outside temperature falls below 7˚C.
Tyre changes can be carried out at local
centres, and there is a choice of using your
own storage for the set not being used,
or leaving them with the fast-fit
company until it’s time to put them
back on again.
Our Mondeo is a Titanium X
Sport model, and the cost of the
235/40 R18 tyres was nearly
£1,400 for the four. Smaller wheels
would result in a lower bill – we
found a set of 225/60 R16 versions
priced at £708.
It’s hard to find things not to like when it comes
to safety, but after the first snowfall of the winter,
I tried out a low-speed brake test. Applying the
brakes from about 15mph resulted in truly
astonishing stopping power on fresh snow.
Having been in the situation before on standard
rubber and felt the ABS cut in almost instantaneously as the tyres struggled to bite into the
snow, having the car slow down immediately
was a revelation.
There was also a major difference in performance when it rained. The Mondeo’s standard
brakes resulted in
on fresh snow”
Key: Excellent ✪✪✪✪✪
Name Speed Visio Nomad
Valeo Service UK has launched the Speed
Visio Nomad, which projects a head-up
display on the windscreen to put the vehicle’s
speed in the driver’s line of sight.
The vehicle speed is sent by a satellite GPS
chip built into the screen positioned on the
dashboard. This screen permanently projects
this figure on an oval film located in the
driver’s field of vision.
Valeo says the display can be read even in
bright light, and it can also be programmed
with a speed limit so the driver is alerted if
the limit is exceeded.
It is powered by a battery that is recharge
using the vehicle’s 12V power socket.
Name Chargemaster CombiCharge
Continental tyres are optimised for performance and
dry weather traction, but a wet
and slippery roundabout would
often see the stability control warning
light flash. Not so on cold-weather rubber, with
cornering as precise as you could want.
One complaint often levelled at cold weather
tyres is that they are slightly noisier than standard
rubber. It was very difficult to tell in the Mondeo,
whose original tyres also seemed to create a lot
of road noise with its 18-inch wheels.
Also, if the weather is unseasonably mild, the
cold weather tyres are less effective at stopping.
With the temperature at 20˚C, the stopping
distance from 40mph is a few metres longer
than with standard rubber, though the cold
weather tyre retains an advantage in the wet.
For vehicles that need to be on the road and
perform just as well as they do in fine conditions,
such as emergency services and home delivery
fleets, cold-weather tyres are a no-brainer.
For fleets with access to alternatives, the cost
of storage and fitting needs to be offset by the
improved productivity on days that would
normally be lost to the weather.
Worth a look ✪✪✪✪✪
Fleets considering electric vehicles will have a
new point-of-work charging option next year
with the launch of the Chargemaster
CombiCharge unit. Fourteen charging posts
have already been deployed in Hillingdon,
West London, in a joint venture trial between
Ford, Hillingdon Council, Scottish and
Southern Energy and the Technology Strategy
Board. The charging posts are managed by
Chargemaster’s online backend management
system, Chargevision, which provides
real-time live information on electricity
Ford, TSB and
The Chargevision system
access to a real
David Martell, chief
If you are a product supplier and
have a new product you would like
us to test or feature, contact
fleetnews.co.uk March 17 2011 33