A decade-long programme of development by Continental Tyres has resulted in the company’s products being the original equipment choice by six in ten of the world’s most successful makers of electric vehicles, writes Brian Byrne. They include Tesla, Volkswagen, and one of the largest Chinese makers, BYD.
In addition to developing tyres specifically for EVs, Continental has spent significant resources adapting its existing portfolio of tyres so that they meet the requirements of all electric vehicles, because fully-electric vehicles are now available in all segments. “They meet the requirements of all electric vehicles and, at the same time, are able to sustainably reduce emissions from combustion vehicles as well,” says Andreas Schlenke, tyre developer at Continental. “Meanwhile, almost our entire range of tyres is optimised for all drive types and the majority of our products can be found on electric vehicles today.” Continental now also has the equivalent summer, winter or all-season tyre in its portfolio for almost every EV model.
Tyres account for almost a fifth of the total resistance faced by a vehicle on the move, according to Continental research, so developing low rolling resistance reduces this very significantly. When developing its EcoContact 6 tyre, special compound of natural rubber and other component enabled the company to improve rolling resistance by 15pc over its predecessor.
Because EVs are more silent than ICE cars, road noise can become more apparent, so Continental’s engineers have also developed a new foam technology to cut down on road vibration noise.