Continental provides insights into tire development for e-cars

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Continental provides insights into tire development for e-cars-insights

The mobility industry, car manufacturers and suppliers are all working to make future mobility and the entire value chain more sustainable. This requires not only a rethink, but also new developments. Tires for vehicles with alternative drives also have to meet special requirements: In a 30-page white paper (click here), tire manufacturer Continental provides extensive information on tire technology for electric vehicles. We took an extensive look inside.

Already at the IAA 2011, Continental presented the “Conti.eContact” a tire specially designed for electric and hybrid vehicles. And ten years later, a new product was presented at the IAA (this time in Munich): the innovative car tire concept called “Conti GreenConcept”. The sustainable tire concept aims to use as few resources as possible along the entire tire value chain: from the origin and procurement of the materials to production and a concept for extending the service life. In addition, since January 2021, the company has been manufacturing the first car tires with the new “HL” load index code. With the same inflation pressure, these tires have a higher load capacity than those of the previous “XL” standard. Decades of experience from tire development are used and combined with knowledge from various practical tests and cooperations in order to tailor the product portfolio to the needs of vehicle drives beyond the combustion engine.

“Basically, tires for e-vehicles are no different from conventional tires. However, their operating conditions are changing significantly due to electrification,” tells us Annika Lorenz, Head of Fleet Solutions at Continental Germany. Ten million e-cars are already on the road worldwide. Nevertheless, most vehicles will continue to be powered by combustion engines for quite some time – in Germany, the almost four percent of electric vehicles are currently opposed by around 96 percent of petrol and diesel vehicles. “Especially in the fleet business, the focus on e-vehicles will gain momentum,” says Lorenz.

With regard to the tires, the same criteria are basically relevant for a particularly efficient electric vehicle as for a low-emission combustion vehicle. The focus is on lower energy consumption – regardless of the type of drive. For e-cars, criteria such as higher load capacity, optimized rolling resistance and low noise levels are particularly relevant. There are additional requirements for commercial vehicles, driven in particular by the EU’s “Clean Vehicle Directive” and the VECTO tool (Vehicle Energy Consumption Calculation Tool), which focuses on reducing CO2 emissions. One thing is clear: Electromobility is changing the focus of tire development. The challenge is to optimally combine the requirements for high safety, good handling and comfort.

Continental provides insights into tire development for e-cars-developmentContinental

E-car tires must be more robust and quieter

Electric vehicles are heavier than combustion engines. The tires must therefore be designed for higher loads. In order to meet these requirements, tire construction and compounds are being further developed. According to Continental, this results in conflicting goals that have to be resolved at a very high level. The keywords for this are: rolling resistance, noise development and longevity. The tire developers have reinforced the bead in the construction and given the tire an improved contour that is intended to reduce rolling noise. The tread compound has also been optimized. In this way, a low rolling resistance can be achieved, precise handling ensured and mileage maintained at the usual high level.

The higher weight is absorbed by a more stable construction of the carcass. Most of the tires have the XL symbol on the sidewall. However, this does not mean that every electric vehicle needs a tire with an XL code, this is only necessary depending on the weight of the vehicle.

To reduce abrasion, the tire developers work with belt constructions on the components and develop new tread materials. Rolling resistance can be affected by the type of sidewall, carcass and new materials. In order for the tire to be noise-optimized, among other things, the profile geometry is changed. After investigations of Continental, mature should be responsible for up to 20 percent of the total resistance of a vehicle. Accordingly, drivers of E-cars with rolling resistor-optimized Pneus could also win additional reach.

Another important point in electric vehicles is the noise of the tires. In particular at higher speeds, rolling noise and air turbulence will be clearly audible. Due to the missing engine noise, all other sounds are perceived more intensively – so also the tire noise. Without the engine noise tire noise can therefore suddenly affect the. This results in the requirement for a noise reduction. However, high load requirements require tire dimensions with more cavity (resonator). This usually increases the noise level. And here lies the conflict of objectives: meeting the load requirement causes tires to become louder.

Continental provides insights into tire development for e-cars-providesContinental

Rolling is silver, communicating is gold

In support of optimal driving dynamics and the driving characteristics of e-vehicles, the tire itself is increasingly integrated into the vehicle architecture as a sensor for networked and automated driving. Information generated by tire sensors such as inflation pressure, temperature, wheel load, tread depth, wheel speeds, slip ratios and damage to the tire structure will contribute to improved driving characteristics and greater road safety in autonomous communication in the future. In addition, future sensors will also be able to measure and provide parameters such as road surface conditions, weather and the rolling circumference of the tires. New concepts and products such as digital solutions in the commercial vehicle sector help with predictive maintenance and show the potential of new materials for efficient, safe and sustainable vehicle operation.

In numerous collaborations and development partnerships, for example with “Extreme E”, “MOIA” and “Futuricum”, Continental claims to be gathering the necessary know-how, which flows directly into the development of the new tire generations. In both the passenger car and commercial vehicle segments, the developers at Continental work together with manufacturers and customers on new concepts and research which requirement profiles could prove themselves in practice. If you are interested in the topic of “tire development for alternative drives”, take a look at Continental‘s new white paper – here.

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5 thoughts on “Continental provides insights into tire development for e-cars”

  1. There is an interesting development on the subject of Conti tires that managed to be nominated for the German Future Prize 2021:

    https://www.German Future

    It is about an alternative source for currently around 14 million tons of natural rubber (2/3 of it for tires!), whose cultivation in areas of Southeast Asia should not continue to be at the expense of the rainforest!

  2. good bye,
    about 15 years ago there were media campaigns for nitrogen as a filler! Now it’s dead pants. Aircraft tires filled with air would immediately catch fire at 260 km/h. It can make sense for buses and long-distance trucks. And with the fast AUDI/STERN/TESLA as a BEV?? in Djermany…not a word!

  3. What shocked me most about this article was that the proportion of e-vehicles in Germany is just 4%. And I’m afraid the hybrids will be included. I can only say, poor Germany..


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