Continental has presented a new Continental UltraContact summer tire that features extended tread life, delivers extra riding comfort, and is designed for private consumers and commercial fleets alike. According to the company, the new tire is primarily intended for «markets where seasonal tires are not the norm», i.e. for the countries of southern Europe, such as Spain.
«The experts at Continental know that younger drivers today, particularly those 18–25, want personal mobility just as much as older people. However, the younger generation’s focus is more on personal mobility than on car ownership as such — the company notes. This means there’s more demand for car sharing and rental cars. The vehicles will spend much more time on the road — in urban areas and long distance traffic. This means their tires must have a long service life and be extremely robust. According to surveys, the demand for the greatest possible safety is still the most important criterion in questions about tire characteristics.»
To increase the tire’s tread life, Continental engineers, among other things, developed a new YellowChili rubber compound that contains a network of high-strength polymers that increase abrasion resistance in comparison with standard compounds. The tread pattern was also optimized to prevent premature wear and increase expected mileage. According to Continental, the combination of a large number of sipes and continuous ribs ensures a high level of sturdiness and stability, while the pressure is evenly distributed across the entire contact patch. The Continental UltraContact also features a reinforced structure, and in many sizes the tires are equipped with rim protection, which reduces the risk of damage to the lower part of the sidewalls.
Effective braking, particularly on wet surfaces, remains one of the key performance areas of a tire, and to ensure that the Continental UltraContact is fitted with numerous sipes with walls beveled at different angles, which are responsible for the rapid evacuation of water from the contact patch into the grooves and shoulder areas. According to the engineers, the beveled walls of the sipes speed up dispelling of water, reducing wet braking distances.
The company adds that another important trend of today is rapidly increasing electric mobility. «In 2019, the number of electric vehicles sold worldwide topped two million for the first time, Continental says — Experts expect approximately 14 million of these vehicles to be sold annually by 2025. Vehicle manufacturers are responding with a large number of new models. By 2030, global new registrations of cars with electric drives are expected to reach 25 million a year (Statista.com). Vehicles like these are normally equipped with quiet tires, as rolling noise is much more noticeable than in cars with combustion engines.»
To reduce noise emission, which, from a physics standpoint, is a multitude of soundwaves of different frequencies, the tread grooves feature extra ledges that serve to dampen the noise without compromising rapid evacuation of water from the contact area.
The new model also demonstrates how the inscriptions on the sidewalls of next-generation Continental tires will look in the future. The model name is positioned across from a large and plainly visible size inscription; these two are complemented by two large Continental logos. Yet another innovation is that now the product name is placed inside the tread grooves.
The Continental UltraContact will be available from the spring of 2022. Already this year, the line will include more than 100 sizes, and next year their number will be additionally increased. The tires will be manufactured in a number of sizes with a fitting diameter ranging from 14 to 20 inches and a tread width of 155 to 245 mm, some of the sizes will have a speed index up to 300 km/h. According to the EU labeling system, the UltraContact received «A» for wet grip, «B» for fuel efficiency, and «A/B» for noise level.