Continental showcases three tire solutions for sustainable transport over short and long distances

Hannover, Germany – At the IAA Transportation 2022 in Hanover, Continental showcases a range of highly innovative tire solutions aimed at improving the sustainability of passenger and goods transport over short and long distances. With the Conti Urban, for example, the tire manufacturer premieres a concept tire specially designed for the electrified bus and delivery traffic of the future. The share of renewable and recycled feedstock in this prototype, which is already approved for road use and could soon enter a testing phase with customers, is almost 50 percent. After just one retread, this figure increases to more than 90 percent. The concept tire has also been specially noise-level-optimized. Continental is convinced that greater sustainability is essential in the urban passenger and goods traffic sector. Due in particular to the ongoing increase in demand for urban passenger and goods transport, the number of electrified city buses being registered is also rising. According to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), the number of new registrations for electric buses within the European Union continued to increase significantly in 2021, with their market share rising that year to 10.6 percent. In the same period, electric buses already accounted for more than 30 percent of new bus registrations in the European Union. Market studies predict annual growth rates of up to 35 percent from 2021 through 2025.

The tire manufacturer also premieres a new tire prototype specially designed for a new trailer concept featuring a fully electric drive axle. Continental is the exclusive development partner for this innovative trailer from Trailer Dynamics, which is designed to hybridize truck tractor units by means of a battery-powered trailer and so reduce their CO2 emissions.

With the EfficientPro Gen 3+, the premium tire manufacturer presents an upgrade to its EfficientPro long-distance tire, which is especially known in the original equipment business for trucks. Its rolling resistance has been specially optimized, making it very energy-efficient.

At the trade show, Continental will also be demonstrating its digital tire management system ContiConnect 2.0, which enables fleet managers to permanently monitor the condition of tires and so save fuel and reduce CO2 emissions. This monitoring also helps to prevent premature tire changes and unscheduled downtime.

“At the IAA Transportation 2022, we will be showing how we are contributing to greater sustainability in short and long-distance traffic thanks to our range of commercial vehicle tires. Continental is integral to the efficient and sustainable transportation of the future,” says Klaus Kreipe, who heads Continental Tires’ original equipment business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Conti Urban concept tire designed for great sustainability in public transport
Continental’s sustainable concept tire Conti Urban, which is designed for electrified city buses and delivery vehicles in urban environments, is celebrating its world premiere at the IAA Transportation 2022. Already approved for road use, this concept tire contains around 50 percent renewable and recycled feedstock. All the materials used could potentially be deployed in series production in the near future. The tread of the Conti Urban, – the part of the tire that is in contact with the road – contains 68 percent renewable materials, including rapeseed oil, silica obtained from the ash of rice husks and responsibly sourced natural rubber originating from a joint development project by Continental and the German development aid agency ‘Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit’ (GIZ). Cutting-edge digital technology, local involvement in the cultivation of rubber and close collaboration with strong partners create transparency here and ensure a high level of traceability along the entire value chain for natural rubber. All natural rubber used in the tread originates from this project. In addition to recovered carbon black and recycled steel, Continental has also used Reclaim material to build the tire. This recycled rubber originates primarily from Continental’s innovative retreading and recycling plant for truck tires in Hanover, Germany.

Like the majority of Continental’s commercial vehicle tires, the Conti Urban can also be retreaded, a process that breathes new life into worn but intact tire casing by replacing the old tread with a new one. The continued use of the casing, which contains an especially high share of all the materials used in a tire, pays off: “Our Conti Urban increases its sustainability even more when its service life is extended. Once the tire is retreaded, so when the casing receives a brand-new tread, the share of renewable and recycled feedstock rises to more than 90 percent,” says Kreipe. “By 2050, we want to use 100 percent sustainably produced materials in all our tire products and achieve full climate-neutrality along our entire value chain.”

When designing the tire, Continental’s tire developers focused their efforts on achieving high energy efficiency and optimizing noise emissions. A special rubber compound in the tread, the wider tire tread and the specially optimized and exceptionally rigid profile help to reduce rolling resistance by 7 percent compared with a current-generation Conti Urban and increase tire life. As always with Continental, all without any compromise on the safety-relevant performance properties.

The noise behavior of the Conti Urban was also specially optimized. Noise frequencies generated while the tire is rolling over the road surface have been distributed over a wider range. As a result, the broader spectrum of different frequency ranges ensures that the perceived noise level is lower. The background to this is that sounds with a monotonous frequency are particularly unpleasant to the human ear. The generation of different frequencies at the same volume, on the other hand, helps to improve the individual’s perception of noise. In this way, Continental wants to make a contribution to further reducing noise pollution from urban bus and delivery traffic in the future.

Continental premiers tire for trailer with an electrified drive axle
Another highlight that Continental will be unveiling at the IAA Transportation 2022 is a tire prototype for a special trailer with an electrified drive axle. Continental is the exclusive development partner to Trailer Dynamics, which will be presenting this innovative concept featuring an electrified semitrailer to the public at the show.

The tread profile on this prototype is exceptionally robust and features deep traction elements such as sipes for high performance throughout the tire’s lifetime. In addition, a special tread compound ensures a good balance between traction and mileage. The final serial production tire will also have a reinforced belt package to counter the impact of propulsion of the driven axle.

“Our tire prototype for electric trailers represents a whole new tire segment. It possesses the properties of a tire for the drive axle and is designed for the recuperation of braking energy. It also possesses all the properties of a conventional trailer tire for the first and third axle. A real all-rounder in the truest sense of the word, it is specially designed for the hybridization of trucks,” says Kreipe.

The prototype, which is based on the Conti EcoPlus HT3 + in dimension 355/50 R 22.5, is already approved for road use and is currently being tested in collaboration with Trailer Dynamics. Series production is scheduled to begin in 2025. The electrified drive axle of the eMega Liner from Trailer Dynamics instantly transforms the semitrailer tractor with combustion engine into a hybrid vehicle, meaning that the electrified trailer significantly reduces diesel consumption and CO2 emissions – by at least 20 percent according to the manufacturer.

Conti EfficientPro Gen 3+: optimized rolling resistance for the original equipment sector
The Conti EfficientPro Gen 3+ is Continental’s new and improved version of its long-distance tire, which is especially known in the original equipment business for trucks. The focus of further development was on minimizing rolling resistance and, in turn, the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions generated during freight transport. Compared with its predecessor model, the declared rolling resistance of the Conti EfficientPro Gen 3+ for the steering and drive axle in dimension 315/70 R 22.5 is around 9 percent lower. In dimension 385/55 R 22.5, which is designed for the steering axle, the tire has around 7 percent less rolling resistance compared to the declared value of its predecessor. These improvements were achieved thanks to new rubber compounds for tire components such as the treads and by modifying the belt to reduce deformation in the area of the tread contact and, in turn, rolling resistance.

“We have upgraded the Conti EfficientPro Gen3+ in specific ways so that our customers can further reduce the fuel consumption and, in turn, CO2 emissions of their fleets,” says Kreipe.

Internal VECTO calculations – a standardized method for calculating vehicle energy consumption – revealed that in a medium-sized fleet comprising 500 vehicle units, each covering an average of 120,000 kilometers per year, the Conti EfficientPro Gen3+ could save up to 465 metric tons of CO2 emissions and cut fuel costs by around €300,000 annually compared with its predecessor.

Digital solutions for integrated and fleet-specific tire management
With ContiConnect 2.0, Continental also showcases the latest generation of its comprehensive tire management system at the IAA Transportation 2022. Thanks to continuous digital condition monitoring, the system ensures that tires always perform at their best. This saves fuel, cuts CO2 emissions and prevents unscheduled tire changes and workshop visits, avoiding all the costly vehicle downtime that these entail. Customers who implement ContiConnect 2.0 benefit from a more efficient fleet, reduced costs and significant time savings because tire maintenance can be planned well in advance and performed as and when needed. In addition to monitoring tire pressure and temperature in real time, fleet managers will also be able to keep an eye on the mileage, tread depth and, in turn, the overall condition of each individual tire in their fleet. With ContiConnect 2.0, Continental offers its customers a range of tailored solutions that make fleet management even more efficient, simple and sustainable.

At the heart of ContiConnect’s functionalities is the tire sensor – and at the trade show, the premium tire manufacturer will be showcasing its latest-generation sensor, which is capable of measuring pressure, temperature and mileage from inside the tire. Depending on the application, it transfers data over a specific radio frequency or via the Bluetooth protocol. Continental’s specially developed app, which is available for all standard smartphone operating systems, also enables data-driven tire inspections and allows data to be read on-site.