Saving fuel with Continental Tyres: Rolling resistance makes the difference

ANALYSIS: “Black gold” is how oil and its derivatives are often described. And right now, petrol and diesel really do seem like luxury commodities, as drivers confronting the high prices at filling stations can testify.

Key points:

  • Soaring prices for petrol and diesel: sectors and supply chains at risk
  • Lower rolling resistance of tyres from Continental reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 30 percent
  • Tyre Finder, CO2 and fuel calculator, Conti EcoPlus tyre range: efficient solutions for fleet operators and transport companies

Unsurprisingly, skyrocketing costs are also giving transport companies and fleet managers sleepless nights. Logistics associations are even warning of a wave of insolvencies; without fuel the transportation industry would literally grind to a halt.

So, the emphasis is once again on saving fuel and, by extension, on tyres.

Indeed, tyres are one of the various factors playing a central role in fuel consumption. Which explains why Continental has long since placed importance on the impact of tyres on fuel economy at the heart of its research and development work. The company’s endeavors here are aimed at finding solutions which have a sustained impact on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Lower fuel consumption: how to be cost efficient AND sustainable 
According to figures from the EU, around a quarter of Europe’s CO2 emissions in the road traffic and transport sector are caused by heavy commercial vehicles. In order to meet the EU’s climate targets, fleets are being called on to reduce their CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

Fleets have to reduce their CO2 emissions by 2030 in order to meet the EU’s climate targets

And cutting CO2 means cutting fuel consumption. In these times of historically high fuel prices, finding ways of saving fuel has become even more important. “The rolling resistance of a tyre is responsible for as much as 30 percent of a truck’s fuel consumption and CO2 emissions,” points out Hinnerk Kaiser, Head of Product Development Bus and Truck Tyres at Continental.

Tyre pressure, vehicle configuration, load distribution, mileage, traction and tyre performance are all important criteria in determining fuel consumption and therefore CO2 emissions.

However, by far the most important and influential factor is rolling resistance. Here, the task is always to balance the conflict of interest between low rolling resistance on the one hand, and safety-relevant attributes such as grip and handling on the other.

Tread compounds are the key
With this in mind, Continental focuses primarily on tread compounds, which generate energy loss without negatively impacting grip or mileage. That may sound straightforward but is far from the case.

Tyres are impacted by various forces during a journey. Indeed, the tread and sidewall of a tyre are subjected to bending, buckling and shearing. The constant deformation of a vehicle’s tyres and recovery of their original form leads to energy being converted into heat in a process known as hysteresis.

“This is one of the main causes of rolling resistance in tyres,” explains Kaiser. “With hysteresis, energy is lost in the form of heat. Fuel has to be burned to counteract this effect and maintain the vehicle’s forward momentum.”

This shows how important it is to select the right tyres for the vehicle’s operational needs, and here Continental is also assisting fleet managers with access to its Tyre Finder tool.

Lower rolling resistance, lower fuel consumption: the Conti EcoPlus tyre family

Less is more
The relationship between lower rolling resistance and reduced fuel consumption is embodied by the ongoing development of the Conti EcoPlus and Conti EcoRegional tyre families.

An innovative rubber compound makes it all possible. These premium tyres help to reduce fleet costs and CO2 emissions, without compromising on mileage and service life. In mixed regional haulage, in particular, the EcoRegional can offer significant potential for savings, depending on the truck’s usage profile. 

VECTO and the EU Emissions Directive are also prominent influencers for the transportation sector when it comes to saving fuel. In order to increase transparency in the tyre selection process, Continental has come up with a CO2 and fuel calculator based on the VECTO simulation tool.

This calculator allows fleet operators to work out how much they can reduce their emissions and fuel consumption with the right selection of tyres. “We are delighted to be able to offer our customers another tool – in the form of our new calculator – to help them work in a more sustainable way,” says Enno Straten, Head of Marketing Replacement Tyres EMEA at Continental.

The interplay between correct tyre choice, tyre construction, tyre pressure and rolling resistance is critical in determining how much fuel a fleet of vehicles use and how much they can save.

The high fuel prices at present and growing demands for reductions in CO2 emissions and increased sustainability continue to shine the spotlight on the issue of fuel saving – through the lens of economics, the impact on livelihoods, supply chains and, not least, the environment.

Continental is offering solutions which can help overcome these challenges and support fleet managers with their decision making.

Follow this link to the Continental video “Why rolling resistance matters”

About

Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. Founded in 1871, the technology company offers safe, efficient, intelligent and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic and transportation. In 2021, Continental generated sales of €33.8 billion and currently employs more than 190,000 people in 58 countries and markets. On October 8, 2021, the company celebrated its 150th anniversary. 

The Tyres group sector has 24 production and development locations worldwide. Continental is one of the leading tyre manufacturers with more than 57,000 employees and posted sales of €11.8 billion in 2021 in this group sector. Continental ranks among the technology leaders in tyre production and offers a broad product range for passenger cars, commercial and special-purpose vehicles as well as two-wheelers. Through continuous investment in research and development, Continental makes a major contribution to safe, cost effective and ecologically efficient mobility. The portfolio of the tyre business includes services for the tyre trade and fleet applications, as well as digital management systems for tyres. 

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