Continental Continues to Upgrade Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles on its Test Tracks

Continental has upgraded the electric vehicle charging infrastructure at its three company-owned test sites in Arvidsjaur (Sweden), Jeversen (Germany) and Uvalde (USA). This investment sees the premium tyre manufacturer continuing to systematically align its in-house development and testing capacities towards electric transportation and its specific requirements. The charging infrastructure at the tradition-rich Contidrom proving ground in Jeversen near Hanover underwent significant expansion. The Contidrom is located very close to Continental Tyres’ global R&D center.

First electric vehicle tyre tests performed more than a decade ago

Continental has been putting its tyres through their paces at the Contidrom proving ground for around 55 years, employing a range of innovative technologies that are considered pioneering in the tyre industry. The first electric vehicle tyre tests at the Contidrom took place more than a decade ago. With the rise of electric transportation over the years, the number of electric vehicle tyre tests has also increased. “We supply nine of the world’s ten highest-volume manufacturers of electric vehicles with our tyres as original equipment,” says Wolfgang Rötter, who heads the Contidrom proving ground. “Electro-mobility is impossible without charging stations. We are continuously upgrading our charging capacities so that we can perform even more tests for electric vehicles. This applies as much to electric cars as it does to electric trucks and electric buses.”

The extensive tyre tests that Continental performs sometimes require hours of uninterrupted driving on different sections of the track such as the wet or dry handling courses, so it’s vital that the electric vehicles can be quickly recharged. This year will see a new transformer station go online at the Contidrom that will supply enough energy for eight additional twin rapid charging stations –  converted to kilowatts, this equates to a maximum available charging capacity of more than 2,000 kilowatts per hour.

The Contidrom proving ground in Jeversen, Germany, has upgraded its total charging capacity to more than 2,000 kWh.

The charging infrastructure at Continental’s test sites in Uvalde and Arvidsjaur is also being upgraded to accommodate the ever-increasing number of tyre tests for electric vehicles. Arvidsjaur, for example, now has eight charging stations. In addition, two rapid charging stations, each supplying 180 kilowatts of power, ensure that electric vehicles can be recharged extremely quickly. The number of charging stations in Uvalde is also set to be increased in the future.

Current Continental tyres already fulfill the stringent requirements of electric cars

For Continental, e-mobility is the key to a more viable, climate-friendly form of transportation. And many vehicle manufacturers agree. “Many of our customers are working intensely to advance the transformation toward electric transportation. The next ten years will see them continue to shift the focus of their product portfolios toward battery-powered vehicles,” says Meletis Xigakis, who is responsible for global tyre testing at Continental. He believes that it’s important to always ensure that tyres are specially designed for the vehicle onto which they are to be fitted. And not only that, but the specific characteristics of electric vehicles also impose specific technical requirements on their tyres. The high weight of the battery means that electric vehicles are heavier than vehicles with combustion engines, for example, which is why tyres intended for electric vehicles are designed to carry heavier loads. At the same time, the torque that is instantly available with electric drives is higher than that available with combustion engines. So, when the car drives off, the tyres have to be capable of transferring all this “instant torque” to the road within seconds.

Continental has upgraded its entire tyre portfolio in line with the requirements of electric and hybrid vehicles to achieve ever lower rolling resistance, low rolling noise and long service lives – with zero compromises on safety. By the end of 2022, the company had implemented around 450 homologation projects for customers and their electric vehicles. Nine of the world’s ten highest-volume manufacturers of electric vehicles depend on the outstanding technological expertise of the premium tyre manufacturer as their original equipment manufacturer.