Michelin Sponsors Students to Expand the Boundaries of Trucks and Tires

Michelin Pushes Students to Expand the Boundaries of Trucks and Tires

Michelin and the College for Creative Studies in Detroit recently held its 22nd annual CCS Design Competition. This year, students were asked to design a pickup truck and tire/wheel design for North America in 2021 that could meet aggressive fuel-efficiency standards. The results were on display at the 2011 North American International Auto Show.

Thirty-two wheel and truck concepts were judged by designers from Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and Michelin. Six awards were given to the top three concepts in each category, and renderings of select trucks were shown in a slick holographic display.

Kelly Stieler


Kelly Stieler of Lake Orion, Mich., took home scholarship money and a trophy for winning first place in both the wheel and vehicle design categories with her innovative Michelin Pivot. It is a lightweight, fully electric truck that holds two passengers and is equipped with four independent parallel-parking wheel systems that allow each wheel to rotate 90 degrees. The truck’s bed can be lengthened, shortened or folded flat to match cargo-carrying needs, and the air suspension can be raised or lowered to help load the truck. The wheels feature built-in electric motors with an anti-theft casing to guard the motors’ copper coils. Tires with a circular tread pattern provide maximum traction on paved roads while minimizing wear with use of the parallel parking system.



Jose Casas


Other designs included the Ford F-130 designed by Jose Casas of Mexico City. Casas, who won second place in the wheel design category, designed a midsize off-road truck with retro-futuristic styling inspired by classic Ford pickups from the ’40s and ’50s, like the Ford F-100. Its Michelin tires use artificial micro-hairs that simulate a gecko’s toes, which can stick to almost any dry surface. The small hairs depend on van der Waals forces, which describe an attractive force between all materials in contact. The hairs’ physical properties allow them to bend and conform to a wide variety of surface roughness. The wheel rims feature support arms and a rubber interior that contains adhesive elastic gel for use in emergencies to stop the truck faster than wheel brakes alone. When a dangerous situation is detected, the gel is disbursed at high speed to the road surface of a road to create friction.



Vaughn Ling


Vaughan Ling of Clinton Township, Mich., won second place in the vehicle design category with his Mini Urban Utility Vehicle micro-pickup for use in dense cities and urban areas. The MUUV’s design features a compressed nose, cab forward configuration and a “frunk” – a front trunk for secure storage. Each wheel contains an electric motor and disc brake and wears two tires: a large main tire and an auxiliary tire with different tread types for different driving situations, from snow to all-weather to dirt.



Timothy Mann


Timothy Mann of Minneapolis won third place in the vehicle and wheel design categories. He created the delivery truck of the future — a small, urban, electric runabout with a cargo box that can accommodate multisized cargo containers designed to snap in place modularly, depending on package size and shape. The wheels feature thermoelectric coils that convert wasted heat from friction with the road into captured energy for the electric battery. The outer shield of the rim provides two separate functions: It traps heat inside the wheel well to feed the coils, and it improves aerodynamics by directing air around the wheel. The tire uses “smart rubber,” a polymer-based material that can change its shape to match driving conditions and then return to its original shape through temperature change.



i've seen the concept of the motor in hub/wheel before, very interesting! as long as it has the kegs in the bed, I'll take it!

If this is what our engineers of the future think of trucks, I better buy mine now. Good god those look useless.

I agree with T-Bone if trucks look like this in the future to meet new fuel Efficiency standards that will be a sad day.

The future looks scary!

People better go out and by the good stuff that is still available, for the next few years, before it is too late.

I like how the FED-EX truck is hauling like 1 package that's real efficient lol

Ok folks, good on design and pictures but what about durability long term? Sure you can rotate the wheels 90 degrees, etc... but how many times before it breaks, in bad weather, cold or hot and snow, etc...

@ all

Read the article...It says "creative" duh. Most concepts are not very functional looking, especially if the point of it is to show creativily in form and function. Most radical concepts like these never make it to production instead they are used to show off new technologies in an artistic form. Give the Kids a break.


These were done by Designers, not Engineers.
BIG difference between the two ...

AHHHHH !!!! MY EYES !!!!!!! AHHHHH !!!!

These are what the up and coming have in mind ?
These kids are absolutely nuts !! What the hell are they teaching in school these days ?

Last thing I want is electric motors in my wheels !! Good grief people,drill for oil,there is no shortage of oil,it doesnt harm the environment, and it isnt as bad for the environment as those crazy lefties want you to believe !!

Drill for oil,powerful gas V-8's for all,then we can hold hands and drink coffee and the whole world becomes one !!

Keep in mind these guys are Industrial Designers and not (necessarily) Engineers, just as @sk says. This is pie in the sky concept stuff so take it as that.

It's this kind of dreaming and forward thinking that is the only thing keeping America on the map. I can guarantee you that there isn't some kid in China rendering a motorized shopping cart with two beer kegs in the back.

Do you really want American designers to be regurgitating the same old crap? I encourage these kids to dream even bigger. We suck in math and science, at least we still lead in creativity.

I think the point is that some of these features could be applied in a more practical way to future trucks. That technology, of course, would have to go through the crucible of real product development and hard testing.

These are very cool and impressive designs. Kudos to those Kids. They are very talented.

Those designs remind of the move "The Fifth Element"

I am really digging that FedEx & Home Depot Concept.

Friggin Awesome!

@ Mahindra Planet "Do you really want American designers to be regurgitating the same old crap? I encourage these kids to dream even bigger. We suck in math and science, at least we still lead in creativity."

Excellent point. These are design ideas. One should NEVER suffocate creativity and imagination.

Thinking outside of the box (Paradigm shift) is neccessary for North American countries to regain a leadership role in science and technology.

That is the best way to ensure a strong and viable auto industry.
When I bought my first truck 26 years ago I never would of imagined ABS, Traction control, stability control, airbags, backup camera's and sensors, GPS, electronic lockers, 4 wheel disc brakes, quadrasteer, electronic assist steering, the impending demise of standard transmissions, 380 hp gassers getting greater than 18 mpg.
The list goes on and on!

Not sure if this looks like 2021 to me. They look like they are far enough into the future with these designs that we will probably have taken over some other planets by then and can just pillage their energy resources, therefore the design of the future should be an F-850 with a C12 Cat and 13 speed Eaton with a warp-speed engage switch that enables some swing out, stowed away rockets....But then whatevers in the box might get a little too hot and burnt.....NM.

Could the design instructors just have the kids start with the premise that trucks have to HAUL AND TOW ENOUGH REAL STUFF TO MAKE A LIVING. That would be a little more helpful.

@ buy american
lol i know at least the diesels are in proving. i would take a 1998-2002 dodge ram cummins over a brand mew lambo.


These concepts are great, especially the Ford concept, although the front looks more like a Ram if you follow my theory.

anyways keep up the innovation
Im 20 and about to begin my engineering schooling. I want to work for chrysler, and when i do ill slap Alan Mullaly in the face and show him what my generation is capable of doing.

Lets see some relevant progression in trucks in the halfton and medium sized market, ones that could actual make it to the market. Either way some of these ideas are well thought out and interesting good job kids


Grow up! You will never be half the man Alan Mulally is.


@ROBERT THE MENACE - maybe you can take a speciality in quality control!

I could put just as much cargo in a shopping cart and would not be embarrassed pushing it than seen in these "futuristic trucks"!

Frank your imprudence is noticeable, what do you do for a living?

Trust me I know many people that contribute to new input on vehicles.

You could even say, hey let's offer more efficient products, or design trucks that are multipurpose based. Like the gm concept and aim it at small and large business while making another model trim that has multipurpose, but doesn't look like one. That's an average joes type of truck. They are lifted, lowered, or tricked but most still haul or carry cargo and are utilized.

You laugh, but it's old bastards like you that got is into the mess we are in right now... No I take that back, because I won't use an ad hominem to belittle your thought.

Lou- you have a point, but the one thing as Americans that we forget is pride; pride in ones work shows, when something is crafted with great determination and effort. Great input, but I look to Lea Iacocca and others like mulally to see what I'd have to do to better the company.

Anyways I hope that my generation can bring some pride and success back to America.

@Robert the menace -
I think that there has been a loss of pride in ones work. A good work ethic is lacking. Times have been good for over 50 years and people have gotten lazy and complacent.
I am a cynical individual, especially when it comes to human nature.
It is reasuring to read a post from someone from your generation with well thought out views and positive ideals.

LUKE--May the Force be with you!!! LOL

Nice to see Michelin pushing creativity for Pickups of the future.

Most of the old geezers reading this and griping won't eveb be alive in 2021.

We need new ideas. While I don't like the look of these concepts, they are only flights of fancy. Give the kids room to innovate, you buncha grumps! Some of this tech will end up in actual vehicles.

And we do need better MPG: it's not "big gub'mint" that will determine fuel efficiency. The days of easy oil are done, dudes, or maybe you just want to stand tall against China and have a world war for what's left. I'd rather figure out how to haul stuff with a real truck and not a macho toy that guzzles fuel...or a horse and wagon, which is kinda where I think we'll end up anyhow.

@Living Farmville, not Playing it - bang on comment.
1. We need innovative, creative thinkers.
2. We need fuel efficiency.
3. We need to work with China not fight them.
The twits in government are already heading towards a "Cold War" with China.
Very stupid.
China has way more money, and resourses than USSR ever did. China's middle class is larger than the population of the USA.
Besides - where would Wallmart get all of their cheep, crappy products?

I hate it when they let industrial designers do an engineers job can they please stop letting children do a mans work.
Seriously, fuel efficiency should NOT necessarily mean a break down in utility. I wish these people would stop giving the fight for better more powerful more efficient engines a bad name.

Lets look at the greater issue of why has engine tech evolved so relativistically

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