Virtual prototyping significantly cuts development time for new Vredestein all-season EV tyre
The newly launched Vredestein Quatrac Pro EV, Europe’s first dedicated all-season EV tyre, has been developed using Apollo’s state-of-the-art virtual prototyping and simulation platform that has helped to dramatically reduce time-to-market, as well as the product’s environmental impact and development costs.
Thanks to the use of virtual prototyping, the Quatrac Pro EV had the fastest development cycle for any Vredestein tyre and it became the first dedicated all-season EV tyre to go on sale in Europe when it was launched in November. The in-house simulation and prototyping platform, which has been enhanced over many years by Apollo Tyres’ R&D team based in Enschede in the Netherlands, improves the overall efficiency of design and testing processes, enabling the company to achieve ambitious performance targets.
The greatly increased use of computer simulation allowed Apollo Tyres to apply a rapid iterative design approach to optimise critical performance characteristics, including rolling resistance, grip, comfort and road noise. For example, the R&D team used the simulation technology to optimise the construction of the tyre’s unique contour and tread to reduce rolling resistance and thereby increase driving range. The result is a product that performs well year-round, across a wide range of road surfaces.
The technology also helped Apollo Tyres reduce the Quatrac Pro EV’s carbon emissions during development. As well as requiring fewer physical testing miles to evaluate the tyre ahead of launch, the increased use of computer simulation facilitated a substantial reduction in the amount of raw materials used for evaluating trial compounds, and for the production of test tyres. Compared to previous development processes, Apollo Tyres’ virtual prototyping software is helping the company greatly improve efficiency when testing tyres by harnessing advanced digital simulation. For the Quatrac Pro EV, this approach also enabled Apollo Tyres to also significantly reduce the total CO2 emissions generated during the tyre’s pre-production development and test phase.
In addition to the environmental benefits, the virtual prototyping and simulation platform has allowed Apollo Tyres to access new efficiencies in its R&D processes. This helps the company maintain highly competitive pricing for end-users, despite the tyre setting new, premium-grade levels of performance and efficiency in the EV tyre category.
“The steady increase in the use of virtual prototyping in our product development has been a game-changer for our business, enabling us to meet and exceed performance criteria in a fast and reliable way,” explains Dr. Udo Kuhlmann, Group Head R&D Europe, Apollo Tyres. “We’ve been investing in simulation software for over 25 years; our latest virtual prototyping environment is now key in helping us maintain a competitive edge.
“Real-world testing remains crucial – our tyres are often bought by driving enthusiasts and we must apply subjective as well as virtual assessment. We are now harnessing industry developments in high-performance computing and cloud-based simulation to further improve the platform,” concludes Kuhlmann.
Delivering unrivalled tyre performance in the EV segment
Simulation has allowed Apollo Tyres to unlock new levels of year-round performance. Befitting the company’s market-leading all-season credentials, the Vredestein Quatrac Pro EV carries the ‘Three Peak Mountain Snowflake’ symbol on its sidewall, verifying its proficiency in winter conditions. Combined with the high silica content in the tread, stiffer blocks and inter-connected ‘bridges’ on the shoulders deliver high levels of wet and dry braking – the latter measured at 4% better than the equivalent non-EV all-season Vredestein tyre.
The Quatrac Pro EV also offers a 6% improvement in handling performance, 5% less noise and a 15% improvement in rolling resistance compared to its non-EV-focused sibling, thanks to a carefully optimised blend of fourth-generation polymers and ‘smart’ silica for the tread compound, rim cushion and carcass.
As Europe’s first dedicated all-season EV tyre, the Quatrac Pro EV has been designed to manage the unique characteristics of modern EVs, including dealing with elevated torque and higher vehicle weight, while delivering superior standards of handling, stability and driver engagement. It also offers significantly lower levels of rolling resistance and provides a quieter and more comfortable ride, tailored to the unique characteristics of an EV.
Such is its ability to manage higher vehicle mass, the Quatrac Pro EV has become the first all-season tyre ever produced to be certified with the HL mark, signifying ‘High Load’ readiness (255/40 R 20 being the first variant). This confirms the tyre is able to carry 10% more weight than a reinforced ‘Extra Load’ (XL) tyre at the same pressure.
Benchmarked against its regular all-season tyres, the Quatrac Pro EV has a 17% lower environmental impact (measured as Global Warming Potential of CO2), contributing to a lower lifecycle carbon impact. This is due to the significant reduction of raw materials used and the general optimisation of the tyre development process itself, driven by the company’s new simulation platform.