This is the tire of the future.
With the world debuts of the Mercedes EQE, Volkswagen ID. Life Concept, and Porsche Mission R electric racer, automakers made a big push for EVs at the 2021 Munich Motor Show. One of the most unusual eco-friendly cars at the show was the BMW i Vision Circular, a radical concept car made entirely from sustainable materials. Car manufacturers are working to make engines and materials less harmful to the environment, but what about the tires? Continental thinks it has a solution. At the Munich Motor Show, the tire maker presented the revolutionary Conti GreenConcept, the world's first sustainable tire concept made from over 50 percent renewable and recyclable materials.
35 percent of the Conti GreenConcept is made from organic materials including natural rubber from dandelions, silicate from the ashes of rice husks, and various vegetable oils and resins, significantly reducing the amount of crude oil-based materials.
An additional 17 percent of the tire is made from recycled materials. As well as processed steel and carbon black, polyester from recycled PET bottles is used for the tire casing. This unique design significantly reduces the weight and rolling resistance of the concept tire: during tests, Continental found the GreenConcept's rolling resistance was 20 percent lower than the highest rated tires in Europe.
With less rolling resistance, the GreenConcept is better for the environment as it consumes less energy. Weighing just 16.5 pounds, the GreenConcept is 40 percent lighter than conventional tires, which will extend the range of an electric car by up to six percent. Another innovation is the Conti Green Concept's renewable tread, which can be easily replaced multiple times. If a tread is renewed three times, the amount of material used for a casing would be halved in relation to the total mileage.
While the technology is at a conceptual stage for now, it could become a reality one day as Continental aims to become completely carbon neutral by no later than 2050.
"The cars of the future will still need tires, which we are making more and more sustainable, as our concept tire shows. The Conti GreenConcept demonstrates how Continental will completely convert its global tire production to the use of sustainable materials by 2050 at the latest. This underlines our goal of being the most advanced tire company along the entire value chain by 2030 in terms of social needs as well as our ecological and economic footprint," said Nikolai Setzer, CEO of Continental. "Step by step, our solutions and technologies are enhancing sustainability and climate protection on the road."