Hinnerk Kaiser, Head of Product Development Bus and Truck Tires EMEA at Continental, explains the innovations and technologies of the new Generation 5 of the Conti Hybrid tire series.
Mr. Kaiser, what exactly distinguishes the Conti Hybrid GEN5 series from the GEN3? Where is the leap in development?
To start with, it’s important to say that the Conti Hybrid GEN5 is a completely new product series. In the development phase we addressed all the key factors for a tire. For example, the tread was redesigned, the casing optimized, a new tread compound developed and the sidewall layout re-thought once again. The clear focus was on raising mileage while also slightly improving rolling resistance.
The predecessor to the new GEN5 is the GEN3. What happened with GEN4? Does it even exist?
No, it doesn’t exist – for cultural reasons. In China, 4 is considered an unlucky number, so we decided to skip GEN4, even though the new tire generation will not be sold in China. This is also a rule we apply for other product segments. It is a Continental Tires policy never to launch a product generation that includes the number 4.
What new technologies were used in the GEN5?
We have incorporated new elements into the tread at the steer axle. For example, we have added full-width 3D matrix sipes and have created a new innovative surface design. And we were also able to achieve a balanced distribution of rib stiffness.
At the drive axle we have developed a new – and very robust – five-block tread and also full-width 3D matrix sipes. In addition, our engineers have optimized the distribution of negative tread. Furthermore, special stone ejectors have been integrated and a wider tread has been designed.
The new treads, which consist of two compounds layered on top of one another (cap base), increase both the mileage and robustness of the tires. At the same time, they optimize rolling resistance and ensure an even wear pattern. Lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are the result.
At the steer axle, the 0° belt casing in the 315/70 R22.5 format provides optimized ground pressure distribution under varying load conditions. This gives the Conti Hybrid HS5 additional stability, a uniform wear pattern and an outstanding retreadability.
Why will the trailer tire be introduced to the market at a later date?
There is a very simple and pragmatic reason for this. We have only recently launched the GEN3+ in the trailer sector and equipped it with the 3PMSF symbol. We don’t want to immediately put the GEN5 on top of it – that wouldn’t make much sense for our customers.
What makes the new generation of tyres suitable for alternative drive systems?Essentially, higher torque levels, as are commonin electric vehicles, increase the wear on the materials. The new development of the ContiHybrid provides a good solution in this respect – with its 20 percent higher mileage alone. And our success in reducing the rolling resistance of the Conti Hybrid GEN5 to a new level once again has a positive effect on energy consumption, of course, for both conventional vehicles and those with alternative drive systems.
Was sustainability a factor in the development of the new tire generation?
Needless to say, we have already been conducting R&D work in this area for a long time. The Generation 5 is a case in point. With our latest-generation tires, we have been able to increase mileage while at the same time reducing rolling resistance – and all this with comparable material use in the new tire’s tread. We also focused on retreading during the development process, and we created casings with outstanding retreadability. And, of course, the up to 20 percent higher mileage helps our customers to achieve high fleet efficiency and therefore promotes sustainable fleet management.
How do these tires fit into the Continental product portfolio?
The development of the Conti Hybrid GEN5 tires is a logical and important step in our portfolio. The requirements of our customers in the transport and logistics sector are varied and constantly changing, especially in daily operations on regional carriageways with a portion of long-distance roads . The frequent braking, starting, and maneuvering place exacting demands on the tires – with different load states and varying road surface conditions to be factored in. We have developed the new tire generation specifically for this type of usage. and therefore to meet the individual customer requirements. The tires have been designed adeptly to meet these diverse requirements, and offer maximum mileage, exceptional robustness and outstanding traction. We focus on low rolling resistance and thus on reducing the fuel costs of the fleet in regional transport operations. Our goal is always to reduce the overall driving costs of our customers' fleets; this goal guides our LODC (Lowest Overall Driving Costs) approach. Our smart tire management solutions such as ContiConnect 2.0 and Conti360° Fleet Solutions play a key role to here.