Continental commits to EV tire testing

Continental tire being tested in Germany

Continental is ramping up its development for electric truck tires.

The company announced Monday it is currently performing test drives at its Contidrom test track in Germany to evaluate potential tires for the global electric truck marketplace. The company states as electric drives are not only becoming increasingly attractive in the area of individual mobility, they also are experiencing a dynamic development in demand in local public transport and freight transportation. Together with leading vehicle manufacturers and technology companies, Continental is working on tire solutions for these special requirements. 

The company says it is currently using a Futuricum vehicle for its testing. The vehicle is based on a Volvo FH that has been converted to an electric drive by the Futuricum parent company Designwerk Products AG. The 19-ton truck has 680 hp and, with a capacity of 680 kilowatt hours, has the largest truck battery in Europe on board. This allows a range of up to 760 kilometers without freight.

“The vehicle has been on the road in Swiss regional traffic since the beginning of the year and is currently rolling on tires of the Continental EcoRegional product line,” says Hinnerk Kaiser, head of tire development bus and truck tires, Continental. “The combination of Conti EcoRegional HS3 and HD3 already enables high mileage and extremely low rolling resistance and thus offers the essential characteristics for the economical operation of electrically powered commercial vehicles.”

The current test series are about increasing efficiency even further. Continental says the focus is in particular on extending the range by reducing rolling resistance. In addition to the original tires, brand-new prototypes are used in direct comparison. The specially manufactured prototypes were manufactured in Hanover-Stöcken, at the central location of research and development for premium tires from Continental, in an elaborate robot carving process and refined by experienced tire carvers, the company says.

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“As with all electric drives, the tires for the Futuricum Logistics 18E are exposed to higher torque during start off and acceleration,” says Kaiser. “At the same time, the weight and weight distribution of the tractor are increased by the particularly powerful battery. Therefore, the tires must not only have a low rolling resistance, but also withstand heavier loads than tires for comparable vehicles with internal combustion engines. At the same time, they should last just as long and meet the same safety requirements as truck tires for conventional drives.”

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