Continental Tire and its research partners, the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology, Julius Kuehn Institute and EKUSA, are continuing to produce and test tires with tread made from 100% natural rubber derived from dandelions. Based on about two years of results, the tire maker said it has plans to manufacture consumer tires using dandelion-derived rubber within the next five to 10 years. The team at Continental began testing its Taraxagum summer and winter tires with tread made from a Russian species of dandelion in 2014. The root of the dandelion contains the natural rubber latex. The plant thrives in the agricultural zones of the Americas and Europe and is much less sensitive to weather than the rubber tree, according to Continental. Carla Recker, head of Continental’s team developing the dandelion-derived rubber, said: “In agricultural terms, dandelions are an undemanding plant, growing in moderate climates, even in the northern hemisphere, and can be cultivated on land not suitable for food production. This means that rubber production is conceivable near our tire factories, for instance, and the significantly shorter transport routes would also reduce CO2 emissions.” Continental’s long-tern goal is to find an ecologically, economically and socially viable solution for the increasing demand for natural rubber.