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Tyre Talk with Continental #6

Tyre Talk with Continental #6: Tyres, CO2 and climate action


  • Commercial and passenger vehicles are a major contributor to the production of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • In line with the Paris Agreement on climate action, numerous governments and companies have committed to significantly reduce CO2 emissions by 2030
  • The rolling resistance of a tyre is one of the main factors impacting fuel consumption and the production of CO2 emissions
  • Continental passenger car tyres such as the EcoContact 6 deliver low rolling resistance, maximum fuel efficiency and high mileage


PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa, 14 December 2020 – In a single year, almost four-billion metric tons of goods are transported across Germany, where Continental’s headquarters are based. Some 85-percent of this freight is carried by trucks, with commercial and passenger vehicles combined emitting around 40-million tons of greenhouse carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. This percentage is likely to be even higher in South Africa due to road freight being the default choice for most companies as a result of the current state of the country’s rail infrastructure, and air freight being too expensive.

To help achieve the goals set out in the Paris Agreement on climate action, the German government is targeting a 55-percent reduction in CO2 emissions for 2030 compared to 2010. Through their impact on fuel consumption, their positive effect on raw material conservation and their durability, tyres play a central role in increasing fleet efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. And that means they have enormous potential in terms of climate action and environmental protection.

Almost three million replacement truck tyres are sold each year in Germany, 26 million across Europe, and some 165 million worldwide (source: Statista, 2019). And those figures are rising.  According to estimates by the European Commission, the volume of goods transported is set to rise by 60-percent by 2050 and the German Ministry of Transport forecasts an 18-percent increase in goods traffic by 2030, with metric tons/kilometres figures rising by as much as 38- percent.

This trend is partly being fuelled in countries around the world by more people turning to online shopping, with a corresponding increase in the volume of more frequent, smaller deliveries to homes and businesses, in place of scheduled large-volume deliveries to major retailers – all of which makes commercial vehicles and their overall CO2 emissions more important than ever.

Premium tyres ensure safety for both drivers and goods, clear the way for on-time delivery and, through their impact on fuel consumption and durability, make a decisive contribution to the economic efficiency of a company. However, they play an important role in reducing harmful CO2 emissions too. 

The rolling resistance of a tyre is one of the main factors impacting fuel costs, which can account for up to 30-percent of a commercial fleet’s operating costs. Additionally, the level of CO2 emissions is directly related to the fuel consumption of the fleet, and the rolling resistance of the tyres.

To assist the transportation industry and commercial vehicle manufacturers, the European Commission launched the Vehicle Energy Consumption Calculation Tool (VECTO), which helps calculate a vehicle’s CO2 emissions. With the aid of VECTO, manufacturers can simulate the CO2 of any truck configuration, drawing on a number of standardised parameters, including simulated driving behaviour, engine output, aerodynamic drag, and the rolling resistance of the tyres. This makes for greater transparency regarding CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of each individual truck configuration, with a positive impact on fuel efficiency across the fleet.

On the passenger car front too, Continental invests extensively in the research and development of tyre technologies and compounds that reduce rolling resistance – in particular to suit the rapidly growing number of electric vehicles being introduced to the market. Both electric and hybrid vehicles require ultra-low rolling resistance tyres to optimise the vehicle’s effective driving range, while still providing high levels of cornering grip and braking performance in wet and dry conditions.

For customers that require a tyre that delivers maximum fuel efficiency, high mileage, low rolling resistance and reduced CO2 emissions, Continental’s latest-generation EcoContact 6 tyre is available for a wide variety of vehicles, particularly in the compact vehicle segment. It uses a new-generation Green Chili tyre compound that delivers improved rolling resistance and fuel consumption, combined with enhanced dry and wet braking performance.


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Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. Founded in 1871, the technology company offers safe, efficient, intelligent and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic and transport. In 2017, Continental generated preliminary sales of around €44 billion and currently employs more than 233.000 people in 56 countries.


The Tire division currently has over 24 production and development locations worldwide. The broad product range and continuous investments in R&D make a major contribution to cost-effective and ecologically efficient mobility. As one of the world’s leading tire manufacturers with around 52,000 employees, the Tire division generated sales of €10.7 billion in 2016.

Continental Commercial Vehicle Tires is one of the largest manufacturers of truck, bus and commercial specialty tires worldwide. The business unit is continuously developing from a pure tire manufacturer to a solution provider, offering a broad range of products, services and tire-related solutions.

Press contacts

South Africa:

Jiminy Bosman
PR and Communications Manager

BU Replacement EMEA

Continental Tyre SA (Pty) Ltd
Phone: +27 41 406 5640

Mobile: +27 83 656 9172




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