Hanover, Germany, July 8, 2021. Electric drives are not only becoming increasingly attractive in the area of individual mobility, but are also 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 premium tire manufacturer is currently performing test drives at the Contidrom with an electric truck of the specialist for electric commercial vehicles Futuricum, which has been in use for DPD Switzerland in regional traffic since March of this year. The Futuricum vehicle is based on a Volvo FH, which 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 at 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. The focus is in particular on extending the range by reducing rolling resistance. In addition to the original tires, the Conti EfficientPro and brand-new prototypes are used in direct comparison. The Conti EfficientPro is a proven product that was developed in particular for long-distance transportation and emphasizes fuel efficiency. 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.
“As with all electric drives, the tires for the Futuricum Logistics 18E are exposed to higher torque during start off and acceleration,” explains Hinnerk 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.”
Balancing the conflicting goals, especially mileage, braking and handling performance, at an ever higher level is technically demanding. At the same time, in view of the rapid development of the e-mobility segment, the engineers are in a race against time. However, as a premium tire manufacturer from Hanover, we are uncompromising toward our own requirements – the concept tire development is intended to significantly shorten the development time regardless of existing tire generations.
Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. Founded in 1871, the technology company offers safe, efficient, intelligent, and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic and transportation. Continental generated sales of €37.7 billion in 2020 and currently employs around 235,000 people in 58 countries and markets. In 2021, the company celebrates its 150th anniversary.
The Tires business area has 24 production and development locations worldwide. Continental is one of the leading tire manufacturers with more than 56,000 employees and posted preliminary sales of €10.2 billion in 2020 in this business area. Continental ranks among the technology leaders in tire production and offers a broad product range for passenger cars, commercial and special-purpose vehicles as well as two-wheelers. Through continuous investment in research and development, Continental makes a major contribution to safe, cost effective and ecologically efficient mobility. The portfolio of the Tires business area includes services for the tire trade and fleet applications, as well as digital management systems for tires.
Continental develops pioneering technologies to make commercial transport safer, more efficient and more connected. The company’s products and services deliver measurable impact for commercial vehicle manufacturers and the aftermarket. They benefit from a broad portfolio and from fully integrated systems. The portfolio includes tires, digital tire monitoring, fleet management, telematic solutions, Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) and tachographs, hoses, air springs, Electronic Control Units (ECU), displays, drivetrain and exhaust aftertreatment systems, sensors, advanced driving assistance systems, as well as eHorizon maps and events and cloud-based services. In 2017, the share of Continental’s global sales for commercial vehicle products and systems was around €4.7 billion.