Tires. They’re a crucial part of a car since they’re responsible for directly delivering the car’s power to the ground to create forward propulsion. And without them, your vehicle is just a lump of steel that you can sit in. In spite of that, the way we use tires hasn’t changed much in the past decades: once they wear out, we buy new ones. That’s not really sustainable, nor is it environmentally friendly.
David O'Donnell, Continental's Global Head of Passenger and Light Truck Tires, together with the Conti GreenConcept
To this end, Continental has come up with the Conti GreenConcept which the tire manufacturer debuted at the 2021 Munich Auto Show. It is lighter than any existing tire in the market, but more than half of the materials used to make the Conti GreenConcept come from renewable sources.
Specifically, Continental made this prototype from plants and recycled materials. These include silicate from rice husk ash, vegetable oil, and natural rubber from dandelions. It also uses recycled materials like recycled bottles through the ContiRe.Tex technology. This process turns your non-biodegradable Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle into polyester, which is then used as a casing for the said tire.
A closer look at the Conti GreenConcept's treads
For those unaware, the usual process of making your run-of-the-mill tire involves crude oil, which results in a far larger carbon-footprint. And as mentioned, the tire only weighs in at 7.5 kilograms, plus it has about 25 percent less rolling resistance than the best label “A” tires under the European Tire Label System.
What the latter means is of course better fuel consumption, lower carbon emissions, and more miles out of your car. According to Continental, it might even be capable of extending an electric car’s range by six percent. The best part, of course, is that it is retreadable up to three times. That might be a more economical alternative to buying new tires outright.
Currently, the Conti GreenConcept is in line with Continental’s immediate plans to become carbon-neutral by 2022. So hopefully, we’ll be seeing this retreadable, environmentally friendly tire on roads soon.
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Cesar G.B. Miguel