Hydrogen Fuel Cells And 3D Printing: Michelin's Post-COVID Growth Plan

Illustration for article titled Hydrogen Fuel Cells And 3D Printing: Michelin's Post-COVID Growth Plan
Photo: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP (Getty Images)

Michelin is known for two things: its tires and guide to the best restaurants in the world. Now, though, the company is looking to expand its operations into things like hydrogen fuel cells and 3D printing medical supplies as a way to bolster its funds in the post-COVID world, Reuters reports.

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The whole goal is, obviously, to make a lot of money as a way to recuperate from the loss of revenue initiated by the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s placing its bets on sustainable technology and the medical field. With this plan in mind, the tire company believes it can add about 14 billion euros ($17 billion) to its revenue by 2030. And that’s even taking into consideration that Michelin believes it’s going to be pretty much back to normal by 2022. A little extra cash padding can’t hurt.

Basically, Michelin realized that the whole tire-sales business depends on people buying cars, and when people don’t buy cars, they don’t need tires. It seems pretty straightforward, but no one was really expecting a pandemic to wipe out the sale of new vehicles.

But the interesting thing is that Michelin is really placing its eggs in the hydrogen basket. From the article:

It expects the fastest growth to come from its business making hydrogen power systems for vehicles. It said that would grow from a forecast 200 million euros in 2025 to 1.5 billion by the end of this decade.

It said it also hoped for rapid growth in the new fields of 3D metal printing and medical devices.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are certainly more prominent in Europe than they are in the United States, but that still doesn’t mean they’re the number-one choice for alternative sources of power, nor does it necessarily seem to be the future. Most automakers are moving away from the hydrogen concept and toward battery-powered EVs. But Michelin apparently sees value in taking the more unconventional path.

I have to say that it seems the company will have a much easier time raking in guaranteed cash via 3D printing and the building of medical supplies, but I'll let Michelin make its call.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

DISCUSSION

France relies heavily on nuclear power, which is one of the truly viable avenues for producing clean hydrogen. So, it may make a lot of sense there.