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Continental launches sustainable tyres

Renewable materials in these tyres account for up to 32%. (Image source: Continental Tyres)

Continental Tyres revealed its latest range of sustainably made tyres

Called the UltraContact NXT, the tyre is the company’s most sustainable series tyre to date. Depending on the size, the tyres are made with up to 65% renewable, recycled and mass balance certified materials. The company is also the first manufacturer to launch a tyre with both a high share of sustainable materials and maximum EU tyre-label performance in volume production. All 19 sizes available will carry the highest possible rating (A) of the EU tyre label in rolling resistance, wet braking, and exterior noise. 

Renewable materials account for up to 32% of the UltraContact NXT. This includes resins based on residual materials from the paper and wood industries. Used in tyres, resins allow highly flexible compounds to improve the material’s grip. The Ultra Contact NXT contains silicate from the ash of rice husks. Rice husks are an agricultural waste product which may be processed into silica through a new, less energy consuming process. Silica helps to optimise characteristics such as grip, rolling resistance and tyre life.

The proportion of recyclable materials is up to 5%. It includes recycled rubber material, which comes from mechanically processed end-of-life tyres. In addition, Continental is using recycled steel in the UltraContact NXT. The already presented innovative ContiRe.

Tex technology has also been adopted for the UltraContact NXT. It generates high-performance polyester fibres used to reinforce the tyre carcass through recycling PET bottles, which otherwise would have ended up in incinerators or landfills. 

With the ContiRe.Tex technology, Continental can recycle between nine and fifteen plastic bottles for each tyre, depending on the tyre size. Continental is aiming for fully circular operations in its tyre production by 2050.

For the UltraContact NXT, Continental uses up to 28% ISCC PLUS mass balance certified materials. These are sustainable synthetic rubber and carbon black made from biobased, bio-circular and/or circular feedstock. Synthetic rubber is a performance-defining ingredient of modern passenger car tyres, as its properties can be engineered specifically for its application.

Carbon black is used in rubber compounds to optimise stability, strength, and durability of tyres. The ISCC PLUS certified balance mechanism ensures transparency and traceability throughout the supply chain by tracking the origin and characteristics of raw materials, verifying compliance with sustainable criteria, and certifying the resulting products.

By 2030 the premium tyre manufacturer aims to have over 40% renewable and recycled content in its tyres. Adding that these tyres will be available for all types of car models, the company said it will achieve 100% sustainable materials in all its tyre products by 2050. 

“At Continental, safety, performance, and sustainability go hand in hand. With the UltraContact NXT, we deliver on our ambitious sustainability goals. This development represents a significant leap forward and demonstrates our technological leadership as well as our strong commitment to both sustainability and safety,” said Ferdinand Hoyos, head of Continental’s business area replacement tyres EMEA

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