Despite a turbulent global market environment in first-half CY2022, technology major and supplier Continental says it is looking ahead to the second half of the year with optimism and maintaining its outlook for the current fiscal year. One of the positives for the company is the growing demand for its EV-specific tyres.
Continental’s Tires Group sector closed the second quarter successfully, recording increased sales in the car tyres and commercial-vehicle tyres replacement business compared with the previous year. With sales of 3.4 billion euros (Q2 2021: 2.9 billion euros, +17.1 percent), it achieved an adjusted EBIT margin of 13.8 percent (Q2 2021: 17.8 percent).
The company says demand for its electric vehicle tyres continues to be high. It has “received original-equipment approvals for more than 300 different vehicle models already, and seven of the 10 most successful manufacturers of electric vehicles worldwide rely on Continental tyres for their original equipment. Overall, the company’s market share in the electric vehicle segment is higher than for cars with combustion engines.”
In CY2021, these OEMs included Tesla, whose models are all equipped with tyres from Continental ex-works, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz. But Asian manufacturers, such as Kia and BYD, and American vehicle producers, such as Ford, also rely on tyres from Continental as original equipment for their electric vehicles.
According to research by Continental, tyres are responsible for up to 20 percent of a vehicle's total resistance. Energy efficiency is an important aspect for vehicle manufacturers, and thus for the tire original equipment business, in order to reduce the CO2 emissions of manufacturer fleets. Low rolling resistance is also particularly in demand by owners of electric cars, for whom efficient driving is a priority. This is because reduced rolling resistance has a clearly measurable positive effect on the environment. It helps to reduce a vehicle's energy consumption.
Continental has also developed special technologies that meet the specific requirements of tyres for EVs. These include ContiSilent technology, which reduces the sound components of rolling noise perceived as particularly annoying in the vehicle interior by up to nine decibels. To achieve this, a special foam layer is applied to the inside of the tyre tread to absorb the vibrations that occur while driving. ContiSilent is compatible with all commercially available rims and does not affect a vehicle's performance, fuel consumption, load capacity, or top speed. This technology is particularly useful in electrically powered vehicles as they travel without engine noise and are therefore much quieter than a combustion engine vehicle.
The design requirements for tyres are also changing with the development of electromobility – for example, with regard to the increase in vehicle weight due to the battery units installed. Continental has been producing passenger tyres with the new HL load index designation since 2021. These tyres have a higher load-bearing capacity at the same inflation pressure than those with the XL standard which has been common up to now. The load capacity of the HL tyre with load index 101 is 825kg, which is a 10 percent increase over the XL standard with a load index of 98 and a load capacity of 750kg.