Electromobility is also in the fast lane for commercial vehicles: courier, express and parcel delivery services use electric transporters. Light electric trucks of up to 7.5 tons transport goods in urban delivery traffic over the last mile, and more and more local transport companies are turning to electric buses. “This is increasing the demand for suitable tires by leaps and bounds,” says Hinnerk Kaiser, Head of Product Development Bus and Truck Tires at Continental.
This is because new drive systems and vehicle concepts are changing the requirements in terms of load-bearing capacity, rolling resistance and wear resistance. After all, electric vehicles are heavier due to the battery weight and they accelerate faster than vehicles with conventional engines. As a result, greater forces act on the tires.
Continental has taken this into account in the Conti Urban city bus tire with increased load index, for example, and adapted it to the higher weight of electric buses. The Conti Urban HA3 315/60 R22.5, for example, can carry up to eight tons per axle. “Conti Hybrid HS3 and HD3 tires have already covered more than 23,000 kilometers on an electric truck from MAN – and have proven themselves outstandingly in all driving situations.”
Partnerships with commercial vehicle manufacturers and mobility providers help us with development.
- With the Dutch electric bus manufacturer VDL Bus & Coach, Continental has developed the first prototypes of tires for electric city buses and tested them in detail at its Contidrom test site.
- The partnership with the Swiss Designwerk Group works in a similar way. In fall 2021, a Designwerk Futuricum truck equipped with EfficientPro tires from Continental set a new world distance record at Contidrom: 1,099 kilometers on a single battery charge!
- For MOIA, a ride-sharing service in Hamburg and Hanover, Continental developed an all-season tire that offers additional safety in combination with the Conti360° Fleet Solutions concept. Together with its service partner Vergölst, the company is working intensively here to optimize tire performance and puncture service.
- To ensure that the tires can handle the weight of the batteries on board, Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein (VHH) equipped its all-electric Lion’s City buses from MAN with Conti Urban HA3. Continental’s developers have increased the load-bearing capacity of this tire specifically for this purpose.
- Continental launched a pilot project with the rental car provider SHARE NOW Denmark in which the tire specialists monitored the tread depth of electric vehicle tires in real time. This enabled them to tailor their tire service even more precisely to actual needs.
Smart tires for intelligent drive solutions
After all, smart tires with sensors also ensure better driving characteristics, greater safety on the road and higher efficiency at lower costs for electrically driven commercial vehicles. Sensors built into the tire provide real-time information on tire pressure, temperature, wheel load, tread depth, wheel speed, wheel slip, and structural damage in the tire. With ContiConnect 2, Continental also offers this technology as a professional retrofit solution.
Are you already driving electrically? What are the special requirements for your applications? And have you already found the right tire for the job? Write it in your comment!