The Conti Hybrid tyre from Continental continues the growing industry movement towards the electrification of urban distribution traffic.
The Urban Delivery Market Moves Towards Electromobility
After significant testing on the road, tyres with an improved tread compound, a robust structure and high mileage proved to be the most suitable candidates for electric trucks. Further research in a project undertaken by the Council for Sustainable Logistics (CNL) with MAN also uncovered new insights in electromobility for regional delivery roles.
The electrification of urban deliveries is continuing to gain speed, with notable reductions in CO2 reduction, as well as noise pollution in city centres. However, certain elements must be in place before an electric vehicle can get the go-ahead. A new charging infrastructure, coupled with different power networks, alternate operating procedures, and, unsurprisingly, the right tyres are all essential factors. Continental has been taking heed of what their customers want from an electric vehicle and the company has had an active role in field trial trials, to find a commercial vehicle tyre specially adapted to vehicles with an electric drive.
Conti Hybrid Takes to the Road on Electric Trucks
In 2018 the Stiegl brewery, based in Austria added an electric truck from MAN to its fleet. Since then, its Conti Hybrid HS3 and HD3 tyres have covered more than 23,000 kilometres. The truck is on the road eight hours every day in downtown Salzburg and operates within a 50-kilometre radius of the city. “The Continental tyres perform exceptionally well in all driving situations,” reports Stiegl driver Dominik Lackner. “It’s great to be able to rely on so much grip when pulling away. I can get away from traffic lights as quickly as the car next to me, which is a whole new feeling.”
This feedback is crucial to Kurt Bergmüller, head of sales at Continental Tires, Austria GmbH. “We monitor the condition of the tyres and note what drivers and fleet managers have to say about them. I’m pleased to say that our tyres have the performance and potential required for use on electric vehicles. That means they are playing a major role in lowering noise levels and pollutant emissions, as well as helping to keep fossil fuels in the ground.”
MAN Electric Truck Pilot Logistics Project with CNL Consortium
The Stiegl brewery is one of eight Austrian companies in the trade, logistics and production sectors with which MAN launched intensive field trials of all-electric trucks in regular logistics operations in 2018. The firms are part of the CNL consortium, which is a unique Europe-wide initiative featuring 18 Austrian companies working together under the backing of the University of Vienna on what will be a key issue in years to come: sustainable logistics.
Continental Tires Working Closely to Provide the Right Tyre for Electric Urban Delivery Trucks
The development of tyres for electric urban and regional delivery trucks represents a technological challenge. “This new drive system has prompted us to come up with new development concepts,” says Hinnerk Kaiser, head of tyre development at Continental. “Developing tyres for electric vehicles is particularly demanding in technical terms because they have to withstand higher torque, have the lowest rolling noise possible and be able to carry what are still quite heavy batteries. And they have to do so while delivering the same mileage and ensuring the same level of safety.” Delivery trucks frequently have to negotiate stop-start traffic and drive over curbs, while tyres on electric trucks are subjected to higher torque when pulling away and accelerating.”
Deceleration is also a thorny issue, as when the vehicle brakes, the electric motor generates power for charging the battery. This recuperation process further increases the workload for the drive axle tyres. And finally, there is the special focus on rolling noise in downtown areas: “This is where vehicles need to be particularly quiet to make sure the comfort-enhancing benefits of the electric motor aren’t negated by tyre noise,” explains Kaiser.
“Resolving conflicting goals – especially mileage versus braking and handling performance – is technically demanding,” explains Hinnerk Kaiser. “This presents us with new challenges, but we’re absolutely not going to be making any compromises when it comes to robustness and braking performance.” Given the strong demand from municipalities and mass transit operators for emission-free electric vehicle fleets and the rapid development of the electric mobility segment, there is also a growing need for the right tyres.
Conti Hybrid Trials Show the Tyre is a Specialist Solution for Electric Trucks in Regional Transport
For the CNL field trial, the Conti Hybrid HD3 and HS3 tyres were fitted to the MAN eTGM truck. “We chose the HD3 for the test as it’s our specialist tire for regional transportation, offers high mileage and has a robust tread,” explains Kaiser. “The Conti Hybrid HS3 is likewise designed for regional duties and offers high mileage and good wet performance over its full lifetime. All in all, these are the attributes with which we can currently help electric trucks most effectively in urban traffic.”