Continental is expanding the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles at its three company test sites in Arvidsjaur (Sweden), Jeversen (Germany) and Uvalde (USA). The premium tire manufacturer is thus consistently aligning its own development and testing capacities with e-mobility and its specific requirements. The charging infrastructure has been significantly expanded at the traditional Contidrom test site in Jeversen near Hanover. The Contidrom is located near the global research and development headquarters of Continental’s tire division.
First tire tests for e-vehicles more than a decade ago
Continental tires have been put through their paces at the Contidrom test site for around 55 years. Innovative technologies are used that are pioneering in the tire industry. The first tire tests for e-vehicles took place at the Contidrom more than a decade ago. With the further development of e-mobility over the years, the number of tire tests for e-vehicles has also grown. “We supply nine of the ten highest-volume manufacturers of e-vehicles worldwide with our tires as original equipment,” says Wolfgang Rötter, who heads the Contidrom test site. “Without charging stations, there is no electromobility. For even more tests for e-vehicles, we are constantly expanding our charging capacities. This applies to e-cars as well as to e-trucks and e-buses.”
Continental’s extensive tire tests sometimes require driving for several hours at a time on a wide variety of sections such as the wet or dry handling course. It is important that the e-vehicles can be recharged quickly. Therefore, a new transformer station will go into operation on the Contidrom this year, which will provide enough energy for eight additional double fast charging stations. Converted into kilowatts, this means a maximum available charging capacity of more than 2,000 kilowatts per hour.
Continental’s test sites in Uvalde and Arvidsjaur will also be further electrified for the increasing number of tire tests for e-vehicles. Eight charging stations are already available in Arvidsjaur. In addition, two quick-charging stations underneath, each with a charging capacity of 180 kilowatts, ensure that e-vehicles are recharged particularly quickly. In Uvalde, the charging stations are also to be increased in the future.
Current tires from Continental already meet the high requirements of e-cars
Continental sees electromobility as a key to more climate-friendly and sustainable mobility. Many vehicle manufacturers see it that way too. “Many of our customers are driving the transformation towards e-mobility at full speed. They will continue to convert their product portfolio to battery-electric vehicles over the next ten years,” says Meletis Xigakis, who is responsible for global tire tests at Continental. It is important to always design tires for the vehicle in question. In addition, the specific properties of e-vehicles made additional technical demands on tires. For example, electric vehicles are heavier than internal combustion vehicles. The reason for this is currently the high battery weight. Tires for electric vehicles are therefore designed to that they can withstand higher loads. At the same time, the torque that can be called up directly with the electric drive is higher than with the combustion engine. When starting off, the tires must be able to apply full torque (“instant torque”) to the road in a matter of seconds.
Continental has further developed its entire tire portfolio to meet the requirements of electric vehicles and hybrids: ever lower rolling resistance, low tire noise, high mileage – without compromising on safety features. By the end of 2022, the company had already implemented around 450 homologation projects for customers and their electric vehicles. Last year, nine of the ten highest-volume manufacturers of electric vehicles worldwide relied on the high technological competence of the premium tire manufacturer for their original equipment.