In May 2022, premium tyre maker Hankook will be launching iON (pronounced as /ai’on/), its first family of tyres specially designed for electric vehicles. By taking this approach, the company wants to make a decisive contribution from a tyre choice perspective to advancing the mobility transition towards zero emission vehicles. Characteristics of the new iON tyre development include further reduced rolling resistance, notably lower rolling-noise characteristics and high resilience. Compared to conventional tyres, for drivers of electric cars this means more range per battery charge and an overall more enjoyable driving experience. In addition, the new Hankook iON products are particularly designed for the instant high torques produced by powerful electric vehicles.
The iON products will initially be available in three designs at the market launch, in sizes between 18 and 22 inches: in Europe from May 2022 as the Hankook Ventus iON S summer tyre pattern, and from September 2022 for the winter season as the Hankook Winter i*cept iON. The Hankook Ventus iON A tyre will be available as an all-season version for the North American market. Further specific product designs are in the pipeline.
Sanghoon Lee, President of Hankook Tire Europe: “With the introduction of this new iON tyre family, our company is increasingly acknowledging the rapid growth in demand for electric vehicles and the associated need for suitable tyres, also in terms of the need for replacements. With an improved range per battery charge, this new generation of tyres will help to further optimise the efficiency of electric vehicles in everyday use.”
According to forecasts by the information service IHS Markit, the global share of battery-powered electric automobiles in total vehicle sales will increase by 36.6 percent annually, from the current 6.4 percent market share to 29.5 percent by 2028. Because Hankook iON tyres make it possible to drive more kilometres per battery charge compared to standard tyres, they can also make a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions from road traffic.
Technology transfer between electric motorsport and the road
As one of the world’s leading original equipment manufacturers of electric vehicles from premium car brands, the Hankook development engineers have already documented their expertise in this demanding segment many times over. Original equipment tyres from Hankook that have been optimised for electromobility are already being used by Audi, BMW, Porsche, VW and other leading brands.
From the 2022/2023 season, the premium tyre manufacturer will also be demonstrating the technical expertise it has acquired in the area of sustainability and high-performance mobility, as a supplier in the world of electric motorsport, as appointed by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).
The new iON tyres meet the demanding everyday requirements for EV tyres (EV = Electric Vehicle) thanks to an extensive set of technical measures. In particular, Hankook has countered the higher vehicle mass of electric vehicles – caused by the considerable weight of the drive batteries – with a higher load capacity. Among other things, ultra-resistant aramid fibres effectively counteract the deformation forces caused by the especially high torque in electric vehicles. The tread compound, which features a high proportion of natural resin, also ensures exemplary durability and reduced wear. Another special feature of the new compound is its high proportion of natural oils. This not only makes the iON products more sustainable overall, but also has a positive effect on the mileage of the tyres.
Optimised noise levels
Another development goal was to make tyres that would operate as quietly as possible. The Hankook sound absorber™ technology in combination with the specific pattern design integrated into the company’s iON products reduces the interior noise significantly.
Klaus Krause, Head of the Hankook Tire Europe Technical Center in Hanover, Germany: “We are particularly proud that the new Hankook iON summer tyre, for example, has achieved an A/A/A rating on the EU tyre label. This corresponds to the highest performance in terms of rolling resistance, wet grip and tyre noise.”