As sales of EVs continue to grow across Europe, Continental is highlighting that its tyres are now relied upon by seven of the 10 highest-volume manufacturers of electric vehicles.
The sale of electric vehicles here in Ireland has more than doubled year-to-date in 2022 compared to the same period last year.
Brands using Continental tyres as original equipment for their electric vehicles include Tesla, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, as well as Kia and Ford.
Co. Meath native David O’Donnell, who leads the original equipment business at Continental Tyres, commented: “We develop tyres for different electric vehicles and their fields of application – whether they are small cars for city traffic or off-road SUVs.
“As the only vehicle-to-road connection, the tyre makes a very important contribution to underlining the required driving characteristics of the vehicle model.
“We are proud that so many manufacturers around the world are equipping their vehicles with our premium tyres – this is proof of our development expertise and the premium quality of our products.”
Continental says its research has shown that tyres are responsible for up to 20 per cent of a vehicle’s total resistance and therefore have a significant impact on energy efficiency.
Energy efficiency is important to vehicle manufacturers – and therefore for Continental’s original equipment tyre business – as they work hard to reduce the CO2 emissions of their fleets.
Low rolling resistance is also in high demand for the owners of electric cars, for whom efficient driving is understandably a priority. Reduced rolling resistance has a clearly measurable positive effect on the environment, as well as ensuring maximum mileage per charge.
Dr. Holger Lange, who heads up tyre development for Continental’s OE business, added: “With our specific rolling resistance-optimised tyres, we are contributing to more climate-friendly and sustainable mobility. We combine our decades of experience in tyre development with findings from various practical tests and development co-operations with well-known manufacturers.
“Recently, we introduced a special tyre for vehicles of the Stellantis brands Peugeot, DS and Opel/Vauxhall which exceeds the requirements of the EU tyre label rating A for energy efficiency by around 17 per cent.
“This tyre is particularly low in rolling resistance but has also received the top EU tyre label rating A in wet grip – an outstanding achievement by our engineers and material experts.”
Continental states it has developed a series of special technologies that meet other tyre requirements specific to electric vehicles, which are available in original equipment and replacement products.
These include ContiSilent technology, which reduces rolling noise levels in the cabin by as much as nine decibels – something that’s especially important to EV drivers, because the absence of noise from the engine makes road noise significantly more noticeable.
ContiSilent is a special foam layer applied to the inside of the tyre tread to absorb vibrations from the road. It’s compatible with all commercially-available rims and does not affect a vehicle’s performance, fuel consumption, load capacity or top speed.
Another innovation designed to put drivers’ minds at ease and support road safety is ContiSeal, whereby a highly elastic protective layer on the inside of the tyre encloses penetrating foreign bodies in fractions of a second and seals the damaged area when the foreign body is removed from the tread – which can be achieved simply by the tyre’s ongoing rotational movement.
Around 80 per cent of punctures can be remedied immediately in this way, ensuring safe continuation of driving and eliminating the need for added load in the form of a spare tyre.
EVs are already heavier than vehicles with internal combustion engines because of the battery units they carry. In fact, the increased weight of vehicles on the road has partly influenced the requirement for a new HL (high load) designation for tyres.
Continental has been producing passenger tyres with the new HL load index designation since 2021. When inflated to the same pressure, the new ‘HL’ marked tyres have a higher load capacity than those built to the familiar XL standard.
The load capacity of the HL tyre with load index 101 is 825 kg, which is a 10 per cent increase over the XL standard with a load index of 98 and a load capacity of 750 kg.