Continental’s tyre portfolio includes two tyres specially designed for electric vehicles and hybrids. Both are manufactured under the Conti.eContact name, but each is geared to a specific drivetrain – electric or hybrid.
The 20-inch Conti.eContact for electric vehicles delivers rolling resistance that is an impressive
30 percent or so lower than that of a conventional tyre. The 17 or 18-inch Conti.eContact for hybrids offers 20 percent less rolling resistance and can be fitted to powerful cars and SUVs.
Both of these special, low rolling-resistance tyres also deliver impressive performance on both wet and dry roads. As a result, Continental can supply manufacturers of electric vehicles with tyres that can theoretically extend the range of their models by up to six percent – an argument that can help persuade drivers of the benefits of electric mobility.
And, thanks to its reduced rolling resistance, the Conti.eContact for hybrids enables these cars to cover longer stretches in electric mode, which not only benefits the environment, but also cuts operating costs.
“Although the market for electric and hybrid vehicles remains small in South Africa, it is becoming an increasingly important segment internationally as the automotive industry strives to achieve lower fuel consumption, emissions and running costs,” says Niel Langner, Marketing Manager for Continental Tyre South Africa.
“Continental continues to invest in new technologies and to develop benchmark products such as the Conti.eContact that enhance the appeal and competitiveness of electric and hybrid mobility, and provide a tangible benefit for the consumer and the environment.”
Tyres from the Conti.eContact series have already won approvals from VW and Renault. Continental is expecting further approvals from leading German and European automakers in the course of this year.
For the Conti.eContact for electric cars, the Hanover-based tyre manufacturer has opted for what is known as the “tall and narrow” concept. At 20 inches, tyres designed to this principle have a very large diameter for a car tyre and are relatively narrow.
These special dimensions alone enabled the tyre developers to achieve a marked reduction in rolling resistance. In pursuit of further savings, however, they also examined every component of this tyre separately for its potential contribution to optimum rolling resistance.
With its 17 and 18-inch dimensions, the Conti.eContact for hybrids has more in common with conventional tyres. As it is also fitted to powerful SUVs, at first glance this tyre may look similar to conventional SUV or car tyres. In fact, though, by scrutinizing every component, the development engineers have succeeded in cutting rolling resistance by around 20 percent.
The Conti.eContact for hybrids is the first Continental tyre to win ‘A’ ratings on the EU Tyre Label for both rolling resistance and braking in the wet. Continental manufactures both of these tyres in limited series at its French plant in Sarreguemines.