The higher weight of these vehicles is down to their batteries, which weigh more than a full tank of fuel for an internal combustion engine. Hybrids have not just an engine but an electric motor as well, plus a fuel tank and powerful batteries on board. The additional weight is offset by increasing the load-bearing capacity of the tyre carcass, as indicated in most of these tyre by the XL symbol on the sidewall.
“This is also evidenced by the higher load index of the tyre,” said Andreas Schlenke, a Tyre Development Engineer at Continental. “There are currently moves afoot within the industry to standardise tyre with even higher load capacities, which would then probably bear an “XL+” symbol. Keeping the wear caused by the high levels of torque when moving off relatively low calls for modifications to both the tread pattern design and the tread compound.”
Very low rolling resistance is achieved by a blend of tread compound, tread pattern and the construction of the tyre – and the sidewall in particular – as well as by keeping the overall weight to a minimum. All of these measures need to be carefully coordinated in order to ensure that these tires retain their very safe handling properties. Given how much quieter an EV is than a model with a combustion engine, restricting tire/road noise to a minimum is essential. This can be achieved by adding a kind of foam inlay to the tire, using what Continental calls ContiSilent technology.
At first glance, these special products look perfectly normal. The tread pattern and sidewall design as well as the information on the sidewall are much like on conventional models. And as almost all of these tyre for EVs and hybrids are original equipment versions, the mandatory and standard information on the sidewall is joined by an OE code as well. Continental also manufactures commercial vehicle tyres that are geared to the needs of electric drive, such as the Conti Urban HA3 for electric line-service buses.
Meanwhile, at the 2018 Frankfurt Motor Show, the company presented a prototype tyre for electric trucks, with a specially designed tread pattern and sidewall. In line with the “tall-and-narrow” concept, wherever practical, tires with a large diameter can help to keep rolling resistance down. A 205/65 R 22 tyre, for instance, presents very low rolling resistance on account of its large size alone.
Continental’s first tyre for electric vehicles, the Conti.eContact, was originally presented back in 2012; this model is currently approved for use on the Smart EQ Forfour. Other model series also developed to meet the requirements of electric vehicles and hybrids include the EcoContact 6 with its very low rolling resistance and safe performance − a popular choice as original equipment for electric and hybrid models. And the Continental portfolio also includes the ultra-high-performance SportContact 5 − an energy-efficient tire for more sporty electric cars such as the Tesla Model S. In all, Continental currently manufactures some 100 tire models suitable for electrically powered vehicles and hybrids.
Launched globally (20 July 2020), RDE+ is a ‘road to rig’ solution which brings the real-world into the laboratory which, when combined with virtual-domain simulation and validation, enables RDE development to be completed more quickly and accurately than before.
The launch coincides with a new white paper1 commissioned by HORIBA which reveals the growing business case for the virtualisation of RDE powertrain development.
According to the study conducted by Frost & Sullivan, virtualising RDE testing could help automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) reduce their prototype vehicle requirements up to 75% by replacing on-road testing with more efficient development in the laboratory, resulting in savings of up to £14m per vehicle programme. This is in addition to huge potential savings in reduced testing and development times.
Steve Whelan, Global Development and Application Centre Leader at HORIBA, commented:
“Undoubtedly, it’s a time of huge change for the automotive industry, as manufacturers face the multiple challenges of emission reductions, electrification and future mobility, all while remaining competitive.
“As a business committed to supporting this process, we’ve developed RDE+ in order to provide a more efficient and cost-effective approach to RDE development.
“As demonstrated by our powerful research, this comes as the commercial case for virtual RDE development has never been more compelling – helping OEMs to save up to £14m in prototype reductions alone on each programme. This is not to mention the cost savings to be had, potentially millions, in development time reductions.”
The launch comes at a pivotal time for the global automotive industry as it seeks to meet the future technology challenge while recovering from the impact of COVID-19. Adding pressure, the report estimates RDE requirements have increased testing times threefold.
Cue a growing need for a more agile approach to product development – says HORIBA.
Steve adds: “The transition to a more agile approach is inevitable in meeting future vehicle demand. Virtual validation will play a lead role in this, enabling products to be developed quicker and better – it’s about doing more with less.”
“Our recommendation is that manufacturers take heed now by virtualising their physical testing activities. As demonstrated by RDE+, with benefits that include reduced prototype requirements, increased confidence and huge cost savings – it’s a crucial step change that will ensure they stay in the fast lane.”
Addition information on RDE+
Drawing on its unparalleled expertise in emissions measurement development, RDE+ sees HORIBA bring together its established hardware and software portfolio and interface it with industry-standard virtual tools, such as vehicle simulation and environment simulation (IPG CarMaker), to enable physical testing to be controlled by virtual modelling.
During the process, a computer model of a vehicle driving in a virtual environment is connected directly to a real engine on an automated transient testbed with environmental emulation capability. The engine is controlled by the simulation and responds as if it were being driven around the virtual test route. In this way, real-world emissions are measured from virtually generated RDE scenarios; effectively bringing together the best of both the virtual and real worlds.
This approach offers multiple benefits. Typically, the ‘real-world’ element of the RDE process entails an infinite number of scenarios that can take months or years to develop, the results of which can be further complicated by inaccuracies in equipment, alongside testing inconsistencies such as road characteristics, weather conditions or even driving style. Add to the equation the fact that testing in the necessary conditions typically requires engineering teams to travel to different locations, and for weeks on end; and the result is an incredibly labour-intensive and costly exercise.
Virtualising this physical process and bringing it into the lab negates such discrepancies and issues by providing an almost infinite number of scenarios on one site which can be tested 24 hours a day, supported with unparalleled control to ensure true like-for-like results every time. Working in this way, manufacturers are able to test designs quickly at every stage of the design process to ensure compliance, thereby reducing prototype programme costs and the risk of non-compliance near to market launch. Moreover, by validating Tier 1 systems, fuels and lubes under real world conditions in the lab, it is expected that total product cost can be reduced along with warranty provisions and in-service compliance issues.
The specific timetable for the closure will be agreed in cooperation with customers and employee representatives. The company will work in close and trusting cooperation with the negotiation partners to arrange socially responsible solutions for the staff at the Ludwigsburg plant. Around 400 jobs at the factory are currently set to be affected by the decision.
“This has been an out most difficult decision – we have been producing in Ludwigsburg since 1954. However, this was a necessary measure to ensure the company’s future. Of course, the company headquarters with the research and development center will remain here and we will continue to invest in the technology center. We stand by the Ludwigsburg location,” said the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Thomas Fischer.
MANN+HUMMEL continuously reviews its production sites to ensure its ability to meet evolving customer needs. Over the course of these strategic considerations, it was determined that the competitiveness of the Ludwigsburg production facility cannot be maintained.
“As an international company, MANN+HUMMEL is not only responsible for the Ludwigsburg site. In order to remain competitive in the medium to long term and to safeguard the future of the company with 22,000 employees worldwide, we need to make this adjustment to our production network,” explained Hanno Höhn, Chief Supply Chain Officer and labor director of the MANN+HUMMEL GmbH.
Among other components, fuel, oil and air filter systems for automotive original equipment are produced in Ludwigsburg. The company will ensure a smooth transition for its customers and suppliers at the affected site and the receiving factories.
The new Technology and Sustainability Committee will be responsible for assisting the Board with oversight relating to innovation, new technologies, and sustainability and social responsibility.
"Dana is committed to delivering innovations that offer considerable value for our customers while also taking careful consideration for the impact those products and services will have on the environment and in our communities," said James Kamsickas, Dana chairman and CEO. "Establishing this Committee provides our Board additional visibility into how we are leveraging the company's resources to deliver on our technology roadmaps and social responsibility objectives."
The Committee will be chaired by Diarmuid O'Connell, former vice president of business development and member of the executive team at Tesla from 2006 to 2017. He also served as chief of staff to the assistant secretary of state for political military affairs in the U.S. Department of State. He will be joined on the Committee by Bridget Karlin, global chief technology officer and vice president of IBM Global Technology Services, and Raymond E. Mabus, Jr., founding principal and CEO of The Mabus Group and former U.S. Secretary of the Navy.
Key areas of focus for the Committee will include:
"Innovation and sustainability are critically important to the future of business in the mobility industry," said Mr. O'Connell, chair of the Board's Technology and Sustainability Committee. "The addition of this Committee is another demonstration of Dana's focus on delivering innovation in a socially responsible manner as we achieve our vision to be the global leader in efficient power conveyance and energy-management solutions for the mobility industry."
This Committee is in addition to the other three standing Committees of Dana's Board of Directors: the Audit Committee, Compensation Committee, and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.
The new joint venture between BAIC and Faurecia will provide complete seat assembly, seat frames, foams and headrests initially for BAIC Hyundai and BAIC- owned brands. Headquartered in Beijing, the joint venture has 500 employees and 4 plants in Beijing, Chongqing, Huanghua and Xiangtan.
"The joint venture represents a great opportunity for Faurecia to strengthen its partnership with BAIC in China, and Hyundai-Kia globally and will support our profitable growth strategy in China," said Eelco Spoelder, Faurecia Seating EVP.
"As a Tier 1 supplier, Faurecia is a global leading expert in automotive seating. Our new joint venture will deepen the cooperation between BAIC and Faurecia and will create synergies, while at the same time, strengthening and accelerating international cooperation and strategic implementation for both partners," said Wang Jianhui, BoD Secretary and Investment & Planning Responsible of BAIC Motor.
Now, MAHLE has joined the Hydrogen Council, a worldwide initiative of leading energy, transport, and industrial companies, which advocates hydrogen as an essential element of the global energy transition.
“I’m firmly convinced that hydrogen will play an important role in the defossilization of our national economies,” stated Dr. Jörg Stratmann, CEO and Chairman of the MAHLE Management Board. “MAHLE is working together with the Hydrogen Council to lay the foundation for the worldwide introduction of hydrogen-based mobility. Hydrogen is a cornerstone of CO2-neutral mobility, particularly with regard to road transport.”
The MAHLE CEO believes that the hydrogen initiatives announced by the German federal government and the European Union (EU) are sending out positive signals. Jörg Stratmann: “The German federal government and the EU have taken important steps in the right direction. However, there is still a lot to be done to industrialize fuel cell technology consistently and complement the highly efficient combustion engine with regenerative fuels, which is important in terms of climate and industrial policy.”
MAHLE has been a series supplier for fuel cell vehicles for over a decade. The technology group holds a particularly strong position in the complex air intake system and in the temperature control of fuel cell systems. For example, the Nikola Motor Company has relied on MAHLE’s expertise in thermal management for the development of its fuel cell truck Nikola Two since 2018. The systems specialist headquartered in Stuttgart/Germany is the development partner and supplier for the truck’s entire cooling and air conditioning system.
MAHLE has brought together its fuel cell activities in a project house. One area of focus is the development of fuel cells and their components for commercial vehicles and passenger cars. This is where the core fields of research and development expertise in conventional mobility converge—fields that are also fundamental to the fuel cell drive: thermal, air, and liquid management, as well as mechatronics and electronics. MAHLE is also working on the use of hydrogen for stationary applications, such as the area of energy supply, and as a fuel for combustion engines.
Laufenn will initially launch with nine different patterns, covering the main range of tyre sizes, for the transport of goods, people as well as tyres for construction traffic. The initial line-up has been developed to meet more than 85% of the total market needs, with most of the sizes offering 3PMSF labelling.
With Laufenn a new truck and bus tyre brand has been launched by premium tyre maker Hankook in the UK. The company’s secondary brand, successfully established in 2015 in the passenger car sector, is already known for its attractive price-performance ratio. Strategically, the new line of Laufenn truck and bus tyres will be marketed as a wise choice for smaller fleet partners, as well as budget-conscious owner-operators looking for reliable quality. The new product lines are designed to further strengthen Laufenn and the synergies with the Hankook brand.
“Our new Laufenn truck and bus radial tyres will offer the UK market a valuable addition to Hankook’s overall product portfolio,” says Chang-Yool Han, Managing Director of Hankook Tyre UK. “It will help us to demonstrate to our customers that Hankook is a premium tyre maker, able to offer a full and comprehehnsive product range, and therefore strengthen our position as a tyre solution provider.” Paul Emery, Sales Director of the UK adds: “To us this is a unique opportunity – by launching an additional truck and bus tyre brand for commercial use, we also substantiate the development of Hankook’s TBR offer into a striving, full-service, premium brand with all its associated technological innovations.”
The Laufenn truck and bus tyre line-up will initially offer products for regional haul use, last mile delivery, public transport and construction traffic. All patterns are regroovable and retreadable with a deep original tread to deliver a good mileage performance. With proven casing technology and the necessary tread compound know-how, nine different tread patterns will initially be available to cover most of the market needs, of which 80% carry the three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) symbol.
The Laufenn range will include five tread designs for regional haul, three for construction and material handling traffic and one for urban and commuting bus services:
The regional haul treads cover Truck, Trailer and Bus needs. The two steer tyres, Laufenn LF21 for regional to longer driving distances, and LF22 for regional hauling, accommodate a wide range of vehicles, ensuring they will be well equipped and profiting from excellent durability, among other advantages. The Laufenn LZ22 serves as a drive axle tyre for regional haul application, offering a robust tread compound for long tyre life and even wear. Laufenn LF90 an LF91 both fit the purposes of regional haul trailer tyres in different sizes.
The On & Off road application range of Laufenn truck tyres covers the needs of customers who frequently serve construction sites with their fleet. Therefore, the all position Laufenn tyres LR01 and LR02 both offer the necessary heavy-duty endurance to withstand different levels of ground condition-induced stress. Laufenn LR53 teams up with the LR01 and LR02 as a reliable drive axle tyre with good chip and cut resistance and ability to withstand the demands for On & Off road application.
For urban areas the new Laufenn range offers a multi-purpose all position tyre especially for city traffic. The LF60 provides high wet grip and low noise levels especially for urban bus traffic.
The new line of Laufenn truck and bus tyres will initially be available from October in the UK. The available launching portfolio depends on each local market’s requirements and varies from a broader sales strategy to exclusive distribution-rights.