Continental has started to perform test drives with an electric truck at its Contidrom test track in Germany.
The German tech giant said that it is testing its tire prototypes on the Futuricum Logistics 18E, a 19-ton truck that has the largest truck battery in Europe on board. Continental says its Continental EcoRegional product line has been in use regionally on the trucks in Switzerland for DPD Switzerland, a package delivery company, since March 2021.
“The vehicle [Futuricum Logistics 18E,] has been on the road in Swiss regional traffic since the beginning of the year and is currently rolling on tires of the Continental EcoRegional product line,” says Hinnerk Kaiser, head of tire development, bus and truck tires, at Continental. “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.”
Continental says current tests aim to increase tire efficiency even further by extending the range of operation and reducing rolling resistance. In tests, the new prototype tires are compared with the vehicle’s original tires. The prototypes were manufactured in Hanover-Stöcken at Continental’s R&D headquarters for tire research in a machine-carving process and refined by experienced tire carvers, the company says.
“As with all-electric drives, the tires for the Futuricum Logistics 18E are exposed to higher torque during start off and acceleration,” Kaiser explained. “At the same time, the weight and weight distribution of the tractor are increased by the particularly powerful battery. Therefore, the tires must not only have a low rolling resistance but also withstand heavier loads than tires for comparable vehicles with internal combustion engines. At the same time, they should last just as long and meet the same safety requirements as truck tires for conventional drives.”
The Futuricum Logistics 18E truck is was inspired by the Volvo FH. The 19-ton truck has 680 hp with a capacity of 680-kilowatt hours and has the largest truck battery in Europe on board. This allows the vehicle to drive up to 760 kilometers without freight, Continental says.
Futuricum’s parent company, Designwerk Products AG, is a Swiss company that converts trucks and vans to electric vehicles. It has a range of products that include mobile fast chargers and modular battery systems.