Continental is developing new tyre solutions to suit the needs of electric truck operators.
It is currently performing test drives with a vehicle from Futuricum, which has been used by DPD Switzerland in regional traffic since March.
The 19-tonne vehicle is based on a Volvo FH and has been converted to an electric drive. It has 680hp and, with a capacity of 680kWh, has the largest truck battery in Europe on board. This allows a range of up to 472 miles without freight.
It currently uses tyres from the Continental EcoRegional product line.
Hinnerk Kaiser, head of tyre development - bus and truck tyres at Continental, said: “The combination of Conti EcoRegional HS3 and HD3 already enables high mileage and extremely low rolling resistance and thus offers the essential characteristics for the economical operation of electrically powered commercial vehicles.”
The current test series are about increasing efficiency even further. The focus is on extending the vehicle’s range, by reducing rolling resistance.
Continental is comparing the performance of the original tyres with its Conti EfficientPro line and brand-new prototypes.
“As with all electric drives, the tyres for the Futuricum Logistics 18E are exposed to higher torque during start off and acceleration,” added Kaiser. “At the same time, the weight and weight distribution of the tractor are increased by the particularly powerful battery. Therefore, the tyres must not only have a low rolling resistance, but must also withstand heavier loads than tyres for comparable vehicles with internal combustion engines.”
Continetal says balancing the conflicting goals - especially mileage, braking and handling performance - at an ever higher level is technically demanding. At the same time, in view of the rapid development of the e-mobility segment, the engineers are in a race against time.