Continental has two tyres in its portfolio that are specially designed for electric vehicles and hybrids. Both are manufactured under the name Conti.eContact 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 may offer “only” 20 percent less rolling resistance, but this tyre can also be fitted to powerful cars and SUVs. At the same time, 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. Tyres from the Conti.eContact series have already won approvals from VW and Renault, and Continental is expecting further approvals from leading German and European automakers in the course of this year.
In 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, for this tyre too, 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.