MUNICH, Germany — Continental A.G. has unveiled a concept passenger tire at the IAA Mobility Show in Munich that is both measurably lighter and more sustainable than comparable current-generation tires.
Conti claims up to half of the Conti GreenConcept's material content by weight is made of "traceable, renewable and recycled materials," including 35% renewable raw materials such as dandelion-latex-based natural rubber, silicate from the ashes of rice husks and various vegetable oils and resins,
In addition, it contains 17% recycled materials, such as processed steel and carbon black, as well as polyester from recycled PET bottles which is used in the casing of a tire "for the first time."
Weighing in at just 16.5 pounds, the concept tire also employs "innovative lightweight technology" that Conti claims makes it up to 40% lighter than conventional tires. Conti did not disclose the tire's size, but photos posted on Conti's web site indicate it's a passenger tire in the 16- to 18-inch rim diameter category.
The weight reduction, said Conti, was made possible by an optimized tread pattern, a special sidewall and a new casing design with a weight-optimized bead.
"All in all, the design choices made, lead to significantly lower resource consumption and more sustainable driving," Conti said.
Conti is also employing its Cokoon technology for eco-friendly bonding of textile reinforcement with rubber in the concept tire.
The concept tire is destined for use in next-gen smart vehicles, equipped with sensors that can monitor the temperature, pressure and tread depth of the tire, Conti said.
According to Conti, the tire's "specially designed tread" and optimized materials also help reduce the rolling resistance of the product. In-house measurements show that the tire's rolling resistance is to about 25% lower than class "A" tire under the European Union's Tyre Label system.
Furthermore, the tire concept can be retreaded — or "refreshed," as Conti states in videos supporting the launch — multiple times, according to Conti. A green-colored tread baseline marks the transition from tread to casing and undamaged casings can be reused several times.
"If a tread is renewed three times, for example, this halves the amount of material used for a casing," David O'Donnell, responsible for Continental's global tire original equipment business, said.
In addition to the GreenConcept tire, Continental is exhibiting the ID. LIFE by Volkswagen, which features Conti's eco-friendly EcoContact 6 concept tires.
The tires, which are making their way into series production "in the near future," contain 37% renewable and recycled materials, Conti said.