HANNOVER, Germany (July 7, 2014) — Continental A.G. is taking development of its Conti.eContact line of tires for hybrid and electrical vehicles to the next level, designing separate tires for the specific needs of hybrids vs. electrical vehicles.
Originally launched in 2011, the eContact line was designed to deliver markedly reduced rolling resistance to help extend the range of vehicles dependent on electrical charges, the company said.
As more fully electric vehicles are starting to become available, Conti now is fine-tuning the concept to the distinct needs of the EVs vs. hybrids, the company said in a recent briefing on the subject.
In a nutshell, Conti said hybrid vehicles need tires with opitimized rolling resistance that can also deliver high-speed performance, while EVs require “significantly” better rolling resistance along with reduced noise generation but without the need for high-speed characteristics.
In Europe, where the number of hybrids and EVs exceeds that in North America, Conti has initiated low-volume production at its plant in Sarreguemines, France, of the eContact for hybrids in six sizes for 17- and 18-inch rims. Conti said the eContact is produced on a specialized production line within the plant that requires certain steps be done manually.
Conti estimates that hybrids and EVs each represented 1 percent of the 67 million vehicles in operation in 2010. These shares should go to 3 and 2 percent, respectively, by 2015 and 8 and 3 percent by 2020, Conti said.