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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 has introduced the EU Tyre Label by Regulation (No. 1222/2009) identically and bindingly for all EU member states. It applies to passenger car tyres, light commercial vehicle tyres and heavy commercial vehicle tyres produced after 01.07.2012.
Three different areas are tested: rolling resistance, wet grip and the rolling noise the tyre makes on the road.
The following are not affected by the EU Tyre Label: retreaded tyres, professional off-road tyres, racing tyres, tyres with additional devices to improve traction such as spiked tyres, T-type emergency tyres, special tyres for fitting to vehicles first registered before 1 October 1990, tyres with a maximum authorised speed of 80 km/h, tyres for rims with a nominal diameter of 254 mm or less or 635 mm or more.
With this regulation, the European Union is pursuing the goal of promoting economic and ecological efficiency in road traffic as well as increasing road safety on the one hand, and on the other hand, granting consumers more product transparency and at the same time serving as an active decision-making aid.
Already during the incorporation, experts criticise the fact that the EU Tyre Label unfortunately only shows a few product characteristics. Apart from rolling resistance, wet grip and rolling noise, which are the main focus of EU tyre labelling, tyres have much more important and safety-relevant product characteristics, such as aquaplaning properties, driving stability, service life, braking properties on dry and wet roads, behaviour in wintry conditions, etc.
Tyre manufacturers point out that test results from various institutions and journals remain an important information medium for the end consumer. These tests usually focus on further safety-relevant product characteristics besides the EU standard qualifications for tyre labelling, which are always important for the final customer.
* The list prices, if available, are a net calculation basis for determining sales prices between tire manufacturers and their dealers. In no case are the selling prices paid or usually paid.