The new VanContact A/S Ultra clearly demonstrates how Continental is striving for sustainability in tyres for delivery vans, without compromising on safety-relevant tyre characteristics.
The new model, now being produced in four sizes in a diameter of 16 inches, are designed for fitment on vans frequently used for delivery services and trade businesses. This includes well known models such as the Mercedes Sprinter, VW Crafter and Fiat Ducato, as well as on smaller vans like the Mercedes V-Class or VW T6. The product range will be significantly expanded next year to include other sizes of 15-, 16- and 17-inch diameters.
Expanding urbanisation, the trend toward electric powertrains, and the increase in inner-city and door-to-door deliveries have significantly changed mobility habits and requirements. Vans are also commuting and traveling longer distances more frequently, entailing stop-and-go driving in cities too. These diverse demands are reflected in the design of the new Ultra-series tyres from Continental. The new range are developed to be robust and durable while offering the safety and rolling resistance performance expected of the brand’s premium products.
New Rubber compound
Continental’s engineers have developed a new rubber compound, profile and sidewall to achieve the tyre properties demanded for this application. New fillers were added to the rubber compound to reduce rolling resistance – an important factor for low fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emissions. At the same time, the functionalised polymers in the new compound provide high mileage during both summer and winter use. The “snow traps” – small bars in the tread grooves – are also aimed at winter use, holding the snow in the grooves and thus offering good friction with the snow on the road. They also stabilise the profile and contribute to precise handling and high mileage. The smart 3D sipe was developed to achieve good grip when driving on snow and wet roads, a special design that stabilises the tread blocks, thereby providing short braking distances. During the winter months, this design allows the sipe to open wide when rolling into the ground contact area, thus producing high snow grip via the sipe edges. The combination of profile design and rubber compound ensures no trade off between mileage and rolling resistance as well as wet grip.
Vans operated in urban areas can hardly avoid hard tyre contact with roadside curbs. To ensure the sidewall is resistant to such tough conditions, the scuff rib was applied around the entire sidewall. Its “brick pattern” protects the sidewall against damage and thus contributes to making the tyre highly robust.
Continental’s engineers have also developed a new, clearly visible tread depth indicator for the new VanContact A/S Ultra that displays the tyre’s remaining tread depth much better than the small bars in the grooves. Four groups of figures distributed across the tyre circumference on the tread blocks indicate the remaining tread depth between five, four and three millimetres.
The new VanContact A/S Ultra is primarily intended for commercial use and will be available for purchase from December 2021.