In 2011, Continental introduced the Conti.eContact, a tire optimized for electric vehicles, with lower rolling resistance translating into increased range. Now the company has further refined the design to meet the needs of hybrid models. The Conti.eContact is available in six sizes for 17 and 18-inch rims.
The rolling resistance of the new Conti.eContact for hybrids is 20 percent lower than in a conventional tire, while handling and wet braking performance are similar. Part of this is thanks to Continental’s Green Chili, which is not a taco sauce, but a silica compound that’s made in such a way that the internal friction of the filler particles and the polymers is lower than in conventional rubber compounds. The sidewalls of the new Conti.eContact have been redesigned to minimize aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance. The new Conti.eContact also loses less energy when the tire deflects and rebounds than a conventional tire does.
The Conti.eContact is designed to generate minimum audible noise in the vehicle interior, to compensate for the fact that hybrid vehicles have little engine noise, making tire noise more noticeable. A thin layer of polyurethane foam attached to the inside of the tread reduces the vibrations that are generated as the tire rolls along the road, communicating less vibration to the chassis.