Prototype tyres for electric trucks put through their paces

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Prototype tyres from Continental designed for the new generation of battery-powered trucks have been revealed.

The tyre manufacturer has been testing the new rubber on a truck from EV specialist Futuricum.

Continental’s truck is based on a Volvo FH and has been converted to run on electric power.

The 19-tonne vehicle has 680hp and a energy capacity of 680kWh.

Therefore, it is able to offer a range of up to 760km when running empty.

Rolling resistance reduction is a top priority in order to maximise the range.

Therefore, Continental’s EcoRegional tyres and the prototype tyres were used for direction comparisons.

Hinnerk Kaiser, from Continental, said the test vehicle had been running since the start of 2021.

“The combination of Conti EcoRegional HS3 and HD3 already enables high mileage and extremely low rolling resistance,” he stated. 

“Therefore, it offers the essential characteristics for the economical operation of electrically powered commercial vehicles.”

Meanwhile, Contintal revealed that the prototype tyres were produced in Hanover-Stöcken, at its R&D facility. 

Specifically, an elaborate robot carving process was used before the tyres were refined by experienced tyre carvers.

“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 battery. 

“Therefore, the tyres must not only have a low rolling resistance, but must also withstand heavier loads than tyres for comparable ICE vehicles.” 

Trying to optimise mileage, braking and handling performance will be one of the biggest technical challenges facing the development team.

However, Continental claims that the evaluation process for the prototype tyres will lead to shorter development cycles in the future.

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