The new Performance-Eco tire.
Combining short braking distances on wet and dry roads with low rolling resistance has in the past always been considered extremely problematic. Europe's leading tire manufacturer Continental has now launched a product which resolves this problem with apparent ease - the new ContiEcoContact™ 5. The tire engineers did, however, have to tread new ground in terms of all the tire elements involved - casing, compound, tire contour and tread pattern design - in order to achieve the high level of progress.
The main target conflicts when reducing rolling resistance relate to the safety-relevant characteristics of a tire. This means that the conflict between rolling resistance and handling can be influenced via the design, whilst the tire compound can assist in the problem area of low rolling resistance and short braking distances in the wet, changing the tire contour allows mileage performance to be enhanced, and the tread pattern can have a positive effect on braking characteristics in the wet. The sum total of the potential improvements helps the new tire to achieve a considerably better overall performance with even more balanced driving characteristics. The engineers at Continental therefore focused on all these areas in order to meet the high requirements made on the new tire for compact cars and large saloons.
EU Tyre Label and Efficiency Classes
The European Union, under CE 1222/2009, has mandated that all tyres manufactured after the date of July 1 2012 for cars and commercial vehicles include standard EU Tyre Labels classifying them by three performance characteristics:fuel efficiency classified from A to G,wet grip classified from A to G, and noise emission in decibels.
Categories of tyres unaffected by this regulation include: retreaded tyres, professional off-road tyres, racing/sports car tyres, as well as certain types of tyres designed to improve traction such as studded tyres, T-type temporary spare tyres, tyres for cars built before 1990, tyres with a maximum allowed speed of 80km/h, tyres for rims with a diameter less or equal to 254 mm or greater or equal to 635 mm.
This label is intended on one hand to promote economic and ecological efficiency in traffic, as well as increase road safety, and on the other hand to help consumers select appropriate tyres by ensuring a certain degree of product transparency.
Nevertheless, the label has been criticized for only showing a very limited number of characteristics. Professionals argue that tyres have many more features that are important and relevant to road safety, including but not limited to aquaplaning properties, driving stability, service life, product properties on wet and dry roads other than wet grip, properties on snow.
Tyre manufacturers suggest that the test results from various institutions and industry magazines should remain a very important source of information for the end consumer, because they focus on and rate a wide variety of tyre properties and features.