Continental unveils EPA-verified fuel-efficient truck tire

Jan. 1, 2020
Continental is introducing a new and more fuel-efficient version of its best-selling medium duty steer tire.

Continental is introducing a new and more fuel-efficient version of its best-selling medium duty steer tire.

The HSR2 Eco Plus, which is available now to tire dealers, showed a 15 percent improvement in rolling resistance over the company’s current HSR2 edition when tested with typical loads, says Roger Stansbie, director of radial truck tire technology, adding that the enhancement translates into about a 3 percent rate of greater fuel economy.

“What is hard to believe,” according to Stansbie, “is that this tire will achieve greater fuel efficiency in the combined application than a long-haul steer tire. Why? The HSR2 Eco Plus uses a fuel-efficient compound and has a four rib tread design, which significantly improves rolling resistance.”

Such tires typically have a five rib design, along with decoupler grooves in the shoulder, to prevent irregular wear often found with highway driving. “The ideal fuel-efficient tire would have no ribs at all,” explains Stansbie, “creating less drag. The tire’s groove patterns and movement in the footprint offer up disruptions to the tire’s smooth rotation on the road. So the least number of grooves that we can use will give you better rolling resistance. But when driving on regional roads, you need more mutual contact between the rubber and the road surface. Grooves give you the ability to get traction, especially wet traction, and Continental also included a crucial element for regional driving – our stone ejection technologies.”

The new release is one of the few regional application tires to be verified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SmartWay Transport Partnership as providing low rolling resistance.

“Regional tires typically have difficulty qualifying for SmartWay because they often include compounds that reduce chipping and chunking,” says Stansbie. “In the true regional application, which is mainly off-highway, the tire has to be able to handle diverse conditions such as potholes and curbs that can often lead to tire damage.”

He goes on to explain that “if the tread compound, which contributes nearly half of a tire’s rolling resistance, is completely engineered toward achieving the greatest fuel efficiency, then it’s difficult to achieve the balance needed to make the tire durable in off-highway conditions.”

Continental’s entry into the category “is the perfect match for handling both highways and regional roads,” Stansbie asserts.

“If you run the combined application of some long-haul highway traffic and some regional on-road traffic, then the HSR2 Eco Plus has the ideal combination of tread compound and grooves. It’s going to be the answer these fleets have been searching for, as far as fuel efficiency goes,” he says.

The tire is produced at Continental’s Mt. Vernon, Ill. plant and is available to commercial vehicle tire dealers in size 275/80/R22.5.

For more information, visit www.continental-truck.com.

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