In 2011, Continental began conducting research into replacing natural rubber from the tropics with plants that can be grown in moderate climates and has since produced and tested the first tires in which the tread is made 100% out of dandelion natural rubber as a natural polymer. The team at Continental looks to the Russian dandelion as an alternative source of natural rubber.
The plant thrives in a large part of the world and can be cultivated on land not suitable for food production. This is an advantage over rubber trees, which require a hot, damp climate and grow only in a small area of the world. The dandelion also has a one-year growth period where as the rubber tree has a seven-year life cycle.
The first test tires were produced in the summer of 2014 from the WinterContact™ TS 850 P Series and were tested in Sweden as well as the Contidrom proving grounds in Germany with great success.
In 2018, the experimental laboratory “Taraxagum Lab Anklam” was opened in Germany, conducting groundbreaking research into the cultivation and processing of Russian dandelions, resulting in a major leap forward in sustainability.