Continental's Conti.eContract tires are all dressed up for electric vehicles

Continental will start selling a line of tires geared specifically for electric vehicles this year that will be designed to limit road friction and boost energy efficiency, Green Car Congress reports.

Continental's Conti.eContract tire will be sold in n sizes (125/80R13 and 145/40R13) later this year. The tire will include energy-saving design features such as smoother off-shoulder design and a flatter contour, Green Car Congress said. The tires will also have a logo that says 'BLUECO' on the sidewall to indicate the new line of tires.

Continental is launching the tire line to bank on what many expect to be a surge in battery-electric vehicles over the next few years. Globally, cumulative plug-in vehicle sales, including battery-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles, are expected to surge to 5.2 million in 2017 from 114,000 in 2011, according to green-technology research firm Pike Research.

Continental joins tiremakers such as Michelin, Yokohama and Goodyear that are designing lower-resistance tires geared especially for hybrids or electric vehicles. About seven percent of an engine's power is used specifically to offset rolling resistance, and specially designed tires can cut rolling resistance by about five percent.

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