Products for Transport

Tires for Electric Vehicles (pictures of a commercial eletric vehicle with Continental Tire)

Tires for Electric Vehicles

Continental Provides Top Tires for Commercial Electric Vehicles (EV)

Commercial vehicles with electric and hybrid drives, whether battery electric or fuel cell powered, require special tire characteristics. Continental, one of the world’s largest automotive technology and tire manufacturers, has squared up to the challenge and designed tires that meet the needs of fleets using electric trucks, electric buses, and other commercial electric vehicles (EV).

Continental has 150 years of experience with tires, and our automotive expertise means we understand how weight, braking, terrain, and other factors influence the whole vehicle. Our extensive work as an automotive supplier for electric vehicles (EV) and autonomous vehicles gives us first hand insight. No other company offers both kinds of engineering knowledge.


Tires for Electric Vehicle (picture of a commercial eletric vehicle with Continental Tire)

How are electric and hybrid vehicles different from conventional vehicles for fleets?

Rolling resistance

Improving rolling resistance is essential to get the best range for an electric vehicle, that is, the largest possible distance traveled before recharging. Tires play an important role in the overall rolling resistance (RR) of the vehicle. Low RR is achieved by a blend of tread compound, tread pattern and the construction of the tire – and the sidewall in particular. All of these measures need to be carefully coordinated in order to ensure that these tires retain their very safe handling properties as well as tire mileage. Wet handling, rolling resistance and mileage are direct target conflicts in tire development, but Continental is able to optimize tire design to balance the needed characteristics.

Weight

EVs are heavier than their conventional counterparts. The higher weight of these vehicles is due to their batteries, which weigh more than a full tank of fuel for an internal combustion engine. If we consider hybrid vehicles, they can be even heavier: they have an engine, an electric motor, plus a fuel tank and powerful batteries on board. The additional weight of EVs can be covered by increasing the load-bearing capacity of the tire casing. This is accomplished using components inside the tire, especially the casing reinforcement components.

Torque

In electric vehicles, you get the maximum torque when accelerating right from the very start. Vehicles with combustion engines take longer to get up to speed. Tires on electric vehicles can therefore be subject to greater levels of stress during acceleration and during regenerative braking, which in turn affects their endurance and wear values. In order to keep the wear impact relatively low, it calls for modifications to both the tread pattern design and the tread compound.

Noise level

EV tires should ideally be barely audible for the occupants. Given how much quieter an electric vehicle is than a model with a combustion engine, especially for commercial vehicles, it is important to limit the tire and road noise. Continental has developed proprietary technology to reduce noise levels. 

Tire Inflation

Tire inflation pressure is critical for electric vehicles (EV) due to two factors: the extra weight carried by the tires, and the desire for maximum range before recharging. Tire pressure management can help with both aspects.

When it comes to carrying maximum weight, proper tire inflation is critical. It is the air inside the tire that allows the tire to carry the load. Ensuring proper inflation pressure maintains the ideal contact patch of the tire on the road and reduces stress on the components, which improves tire runout and minimizes irregular wear. It also delivers 20 percent longer casing life for retreading, versus a tire that is just 10 percent underinflated.

Tire pressure also impacts rolling resistance, one of the critical factors in an electric vehicle’s range before recharging. A tire must be designed for ideal rolling resistance for EVs, and must have the proper inflation pressure to deliver the best rolling resistance. Underinflation , or low tire inflation, increases rolling resistance and decreases the range of an electric vehicle.

The good news is that fleets no longer have to rely on performing tire pressure checks on tens, hundreds, or even thousands of tires on their vehicles. With ContiConnect Live over-the-road monitoring, ContiConnect Yard depot-based monitoring, or other digital tire monitoring technology, fleets will know immediately whether any tires have low pressure. Leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) saves fleets time and money by protecting their tires, and improves safety for everyone who drives on the roadway.

Safety is key

Despite all the unique requirements, tires for EVs must also maintain safe handling properties. Braking distance, directional stability, and overall handling must not be overlooked. Continental is committed to safety of your drivers as we develop tires for electric vehicles.

Fleets looking for EV tires should consider partnering with a tire manufacturer who has already developed expertise in this field. New vehicle concepts can also mean a different center of gravity position, wheel loads, torques or axle load balancing and can therefore present potential challenges for the load capacity or wear resistance of the tires.

Continental offers expertise you can count on. For more information, please contact your local Continental representative, or send us a message.

Extensive Expertise in Electric Vehicle Tires

Continental has been pioneering developments in the world of commercial electric vehicles (EV) since at least 2018, acquiring real-world expertise through partnerships with OEMs as well as in-house automotive developments.


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