HANOVER, Germany — Continental A.G. has begun producing tires with an "HL" load index, a new standard that yields tires capable of carrying heavier loads at the same pressure as those built to the "XL" standard used up to now.
Continental said it has adopted the HL standard for certain OE tires destined for fitment on larger, more powerful cars and SUVs with electric or hybrid drive that tend to be heavier than more conventional vehicles.
The German company claims to be the first tire maker to produce products with the HL index.
Tires built to meet the HL standard require a number of changes to the structure and rubber compounds, Continental said, such as a reinforced bead and "enhanced" casing contour.
"We were dealing here with tradeoffs that needed resolving at a very high level," Stefan Habicht, head of the development project for the HL tires at Conti, said.