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Continental highlights its sustainability mission

At leading international trade fairs such as IAA Mobility, Continental presents innovative technologies that it says “set new standards”.

One topic of focus is sustainability. As early as 2021, the tyre manufacturer focused on the use of silica from agricultural waste, polyester from recycled PET and other renewable and recyclable materials with the Conti GreenConcept concept tyre.

Continental has now incorporated many of these technologies into its series tyres. With the UltraContact NXT, the company last year launched what it claims to be, the most sustainable series tyre to date. This underlines Continental’s claim to be the most progressive manufacturer in the tyre industry when it comes to sustainability.

PET bottles often end up in waste incineration plants or landfills. By using the ContiRe.Tex technology, Continental and its partners have succeeded in producing high-quality polyester yarn for tyres from recycled PET bottles. Depending on the tyre size, between nine and 15 PET bottles can be reused per tyre. The PET bottles used come exclusively from regions without a closed recycling loop.

The tyre manufacturer brought the Conti-Re.Tex technology to production readiness in less than a year. This was no mean feat, because in addition to the conversion of corresponding production processes in the tyre plants, the use of new raw materials is always a complex balancing act for the engineers and material experts at Continental.

After all, only when all the materials are perfectly coordinated with each other can customers benefit from safe, energy-efficient and durable high-performance tyres.

Series tyres with Conti-Re.Tex technology have been available from specialist tyre dealers in Europe since April 2022.

The Conti-Re.Tex technology is also part of the most sustainable passenger car series tyre on the market to date. With the UltraContact NXT, Continental says it offers a tyre with a particularly high proportion of sustainable materials.

Many of the technologies contained in the tyre were part of the Conti GreenConcept concept tyre, which was presented to the public for the first time at IAA Mobility 2021. These included silica made from rice husk ash or recycled PET bottles.

Production of the UltraContact NXT started in July 2023 in Lousado, Portugal. With up to 65 per cent renewable, recycled and mass-balance-certified materials, the series tyre combines a high proportion of sustainable materials with maximum safety and performance.

All 19 tyre sizes received the top EU tire label rating (A) in rolling resistance, braking in wet conditions and exterior noise.

By 2030, Continental says it is aiming to use over 40 per cent renewable and recycled materials in its tyres. The UltraContact NXT is said to be an important step for the tyre manufacturer on the way to achieving its ambitious sustainability goals.

Thanks to the balanced interplay of efficient and sustainable technologies and materials, Continental products are particularly efficient when driving. The Conti CityPlus technology presented at this year’s IAA Mobility, for example, increases the overall energy efficiency of a car tyre by up to 10 per cent.

This means lower CO2 emissions for cars with combustion engines and greater range for electric vehicles. This is achieved by optimising tyre behaviour in inner-city stop-and-go traffic, which can increase the range of passenger cars by up to three per cent. For electric vehicles, this corresponds to a saving of around 0.6 kWh per 100 kilometres.

Continental states that its latest technology could also be used in production in the near future. The tyre manufacturer says it is in contact with several original equipment customers who have expressed interest.