Continental has upgraded its Conti.eContact tire, originally launched in 2011 with electric vehicles in mind, and refined it to meet the needs of hybrid models.

Continental’s in-house studies point to a growing market for hybrids in the future, which could account for as much as eight percent by 2020. With this in mind, Continental said the Conti.eContact features a range of newly developed technologies, and is also the first tire in the range to obtain the top A label rating on the EU Tire Label for both wet grip and rolling resistance.

Continental explained its chemists have achieved much progress with the Conti.eContact, such as a 20 percent reduction in rolling resistance, thanks to the newly developed Green Chili compound. The silica compound of the new Conti.eContact is constructed in such a way that the internal friction of the filler particles and the polymers is lower than in conventional rubber compounds. This results in lower rolling resistance, said Continental.

Along with the new technologies adopted, the sidewalls of the new Conti.eContact have also been redesigned, continued Continental. The company’s tire designers focused on minimizing aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance. They achieved this through the aerodynamically modified sidewall and its flexible, lightweight design.

When hybrid vehicles run in electric mode they are virtually silent. As tire noise is no longer drowned out by other sources of noise such as a conventional engine, it is all the more noticeable, added Continental. Consequently, the tire company said the new Conti.eContact is designed to generate minimal audible noise in the interior. This is achieved with the aid of ContiSilent technology, a thin layer of polyurethane foam attached to the inside of the tread that reduces the vibrations that are generated as the tire rolls across the surface of the road.

The Conti.eContact will feature the “BlueEco” logo on the sidewall and be originally available in six sizes for 17 and 18-inch rims, specially designed for models such as the Vauxhall Ampera, Chevrolet Volt, BMW 5 series ActiveHybrid, Lexus LS 600h and Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid. Continental added the Conti.eContact will also be available for other cars and SUVs with hybrid drive.