Dec 01, 2020
According to the German company Continental, not only car manufacturers, but also tire companies, which need to produce products that meet new technical requirements, must adapt in response to the increasing popularity of electric vehicles.
One of the biggest challenges here is developing tires for electric city buses. To solve this problem, Continental and the electric bus manufacturer VDL Bus & Coach have combined their knowledge and experience to jointly develop the first tire prototypes, which are currently being tested at the Continental Contidrom.
“Like all electric vehicles, these buses increase the load on the tires due to the high torque during start-up and acceleration,” said Ben Hudson, engineer at Continental Truck Tires. In the case of electric city bus tires, he said, there are other factors to consider that are rarely encountered when designing tires for other electric vehicles. In particular, when driving in the city center, vehicles must be very quiet and the noise from the tires must not compromise the comfort achieved by the quiet electric motor.
“At the same time, tires have to provide the same mileage and meet the same safety standards as regular bus tires,” said Ben Hudson. - In this area, we are faced with new requirements, but we are not going to compromise in terms of reliability or braking performance. Safety is our top priority. "
The prototype tires tested on VDL buses at the Contidrom test site are now manufactured by Continental in Hannover, and their tread patterns are cut by hand. While the tire development cycle from initial prototype to serial production typically takes three to five years, Hudson notes, Continental is keen to shorten that cycle.
“When developing new tires for electric buses, we go beyond what has been used in previous generations of products,” explained Hudson. “It gives us the opportunity to try out completely new concepts and ideas. If they are successful, we will very quickly put them into practice and use them to develop the next tire line."