Continental has now rolled out the Conti.eContact tyre in six sizes for 17 and 18-inch wheels, specially designed for variants such as the Opel Ampera, BMW 5 ActiveHybrid, Lexus LS 600h and Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid, as well as other similar vehicles and SUVs with hybrid drive. The Conti.eContact’s rolling resistance and wet braking performance have been rated 20 percent lower than conventional tyres, whilst achieving a more effective wet braking performance comparable to normal passenger car tyres. In terms of handling and braking on dry roads, the tyre performs at the same high level as a Continental sedan tyre of comparable size. As a member of the Continental tyre family for hybrid and electric vehicles, the Conti.eContact bears the “BlueEco” logo on the sidewall. Continental’s in-house studies point to incremental growth in the proportion of hybrid vehicles in the passenger car segment, which could account for as much as 8% by 2020.
Featuring the newly developed Green Chili compound, the silica compound of the new Conti.eContact for hybrid vehicles is made up in such a way that the internal friction of the filler particles and the polymers is lower than in conventional rubber compounds. The use of special additives provides an additional boost in terms of handling properties. With this new compound, the chemists at Continental have achieved a marked reduction in rolling resistance, while maintaining a high level of handling and braking performance on dry roads.
On wet roads the specially configured twin sipes in the tread blocks generate a ‘windshield wiper’ effect that breaks up the film of water under the contact patch. This smart thinking by the tread designers at Continental enables the water between the surface of the tread blocks and the road to be rapidly dispersed, making for very short stopping distances in the wet. The fast dispersion of the water also benefits the tyre’s wet handling, even at higher speeds. Additionally, the compound and tread design of Conti.eContact consists of reworked sidewalls that’s flexible and lightweight. As a result, in the new Conti.eContact less energy is lost when the tyre deflects and rebounds than in conventional tyres. In addition, the drop in turbulence has led to a further reduction in the tyre’s contribution to fuel consumption.
When hybrid vehicles run in electric mode they are virtually silent. As tyre noise is no longer drowned out by other sources of noise such as a conventional engine, it is all the more noticeable. Consequently, the new Conti.eContact is designed to generate minimum audible noise in the vehicle interior. This is achieved with the aid of ContiSilent technology. A thin layer of polyurethane foam attached to the inside of the tread reduces the vibrations that are generated as the tyre rolls on the road surface.