Continental tests tyres on electric truck with Europe’s largest battery08 July 2021

A rigid vehicle converted to battery-electric has been on test with courier firm DPD in Switzerland since early 2021.

The Futuricum vehicle is based on a Volvo FH, which has been converted to an electric drive by the Futuricum parent company Designwerk Products AG. The 19-tonne truck has 671bhp and, with a capacity of 680kW, has the largest truck battery in Europe on board. This allows a range of up to 760km without freight.

The Futuricum Logistics 18E is expected to drive at least 80,000 kilometres per year.

“The vehicle has been on the road in Swiss regional traffic since the beginning of the year and is currently rolling on tyres from the Continental EcoRegional product line,” says Hinnerk Kaiser, head of tyre development, bus and truck tyres at Continental.

“The combination of Conti EcoRegional HS3 and HD3 already enables high mileage and extremely low rolling resistance and thus offers the essential characteristics for the economical operation of electrically powered commercial vehicles.”

The current test series are about increasing efficiency even further. The focus is in particular on extending the range by reducing rolling resistance. In addition to the original tyres, the Conti EfficientPro and brand-new prototypes are used in direct comparison. The Conti EfficientPro is a proven product that was developed in particular for long-distance transportation and emphasises fuel efficiency. The specially manufactured prototypes were produced in Hanover-Stöcken, at the central location of research and development for premium tyres from Continental, in an elaborate robot carving process and refined by experienced tyre carvers.

“As with all electric drives, the tyres for the Futuricum Logistics 18E are exposed to higher torque during start off and acceleration,” explains Hinnerk Kaiser. “At the same time, the weight and weight distribution of the tractor are increased by the particularly powerful battery. Therefore, the tyres must not only have a low rolling resistance, but must also withstand heavier loads than tyres for comparable vehicles with internal combustion engines. At the same time, they should last just as long and meet the same safety requirements as truck tyres for conventional drives.”

Balancing the conflicting goals, especially mileage, braking and handling performance, at an ever higher level is technically demanding. At the same time, in view of the rapid development of the e-mobility segment, the engineers are in a race against time, said Contiental.

Transport Engineer

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