Premium tyre manufacturer Hankook is presenting its first all-season tyre specifically for electric vehicles (passenger cars and SUVs) in the European market with the new iON FlexClimate. The Hankook iON FlexClimate lines up alongside the summer tyre tread for electric passenger cars and SUVs, the Hankook iON evo, and the corresponding winter tread, the Hankook iON i*cept, to complete the state-of-the-art tyre family for current and future electric vehicle generations. All Hankook iON products in the appropriate size can also be used on conventional vehicles with combustion or hybrid drive, where they demonstrate their advantages compared to conventional tyres, particularly in terms of energy consumption, noise level, resource conservation and durability.
Thanks to the latest technologies, the new iON FlexClimate offers high performance for both summer and moderate winter driving conditions. In addition to excellent grip on wet surfaces, the main features include a particularly low rolling resistance compared to conventional tyres and a construction that is optimised for weight and yet extremely robust, both of which are tailored specifically to the requirements of electric vehicles.
“With the new iON FlexClimate, we are fulfilling the wishes of many electric vehicle drivers for a tyre that offers outstanding performance the whole year round for this type of drive as well”, says Sanghoon Lee, President of Hankook Tire Europe. “Whether in dry weather, rain or snow, our new all-season tyres from the iON series deliver a very high level of driving safety, help to extend the range per battery charge, handle high vehicle weights with ease, and are very quiet into the bargain.”
Excellent performance in the wet and snow
A key technical feature of the new iON FlexClimate, which comes in versions for passenger cars and SUVs, is special 3D sipes in the tread. They give the tyre outstanding grip on both wet and dry surfaces, and even in light snow. At the same time, the new ProGrip tread mixture ensures optimised adhesion on wet surfaces through a combination of high-density silica and other sustainable raw materials. To deliver the required level of performance on snow, the tread has a high sipe density: “2-in-1” sipes in combination with additional grooves in the individual tread blocks ensure traction and braking performance. The iON FlexClimate carries the M+S and 3PMSF (Three-Peak-Mountain-Snow-Flake) labels, and is therefore approved for year-round use in many European countries.
Optimised for electric vehicles
Hankook has addressed the typically higher weight of electric vehicles by giving the new iON FlexClimate a reinforced belt with extremely durable aramid fibres and even load distribution over the entire width of the tread. This enables a higher load index per tyre, effectively counteracting deformation forces at higher speeds and ensures steering precision and good cornering stability. In addition, the evenness of the load distribution reduces tread wear. Thanks to the new Grip Boost technology in combination with the aramid belt, the sidewall rigidity of the tyre has been increased by 20% compared to conventional all-season tyres*, for more driving comfort and vehicle control.
Outstanding rolling resistance
The special tread mixture with a high percentage of natural resin in the iON products ensures exemplary durability and reduced abrasion compared to conventional products. The high adhesion it provides ensures the grip needed to safely transfer the high drive torques of electric vehicles to the road. The high percentage of natural oils in the mixture not only makes the iON products more sustainable overall, but also has a positive impact on the durability of the tread strip. As a result, the Hankook iON FlexClimate needs less material than conventional tyres for the same overall mileage, which makes it lighter overall. This not only results in lower energy consumption when driving, but also reduces the amount of energy used in production.
Thanks to the modern mixing process and Hankook Opti-Cure technology, the tread design of the iON FlexClimate also reduces unnecessary tread movements. This further reduces the energy loss and thus the rolling resistance. Overall, the Hankook iON FlexClimate can contribute to greater range per battery charge.
Low noise level thanks to i Sound Absorber
Since electric cars do not have a combustion engine producing noise, drivers are much more sensitive to other sources of noise. Therefore, the iON tyre family is equipped with Hankook i Sound Absorber technology and designed to be especially aerodynamic, which ensures a really low noise level compared to standard tyres.
Hankook introduces new iON technology system
The new iON FlexClimate already benefits from the newly introduced “iON Innovative Technology”. This is a more detailed technology system developed by Hankook in order to improve the efficiency in research and development and in particular the company’s EV tyres even further. It encompasses four key technologies: i Sound Absorber (noise), i Super Mileage (wear), i Perfect Grip (adhesion) and i Extreme Lightness (rolling resistance). The system is based on approximately 58 patented technologies that have been incorporated into the development of the iON tyre family, including patents for noise reduction and ProDurable compound technology, which ensures a long tyre life through an advanced material mix, and Round Even, which guarantees an extremely even contact pressure on the road.
Other technologies are used to improve tyre adhesion, handling and rolling resistance. This includes interlocking 3D Grip Claw sipes, the ProGrip compound as a combination of high-density silica and other, environmentally friendly materials, as well as ProCoupling, which achieves a finer silica distribution through an optimised mixture.
Once launched in Europe in October 2023, the new iON FlexClimate will initially be available in 8 sizes for passenger cars and SUVs, which are most popular in the EV segment. The size portfolio will then be expanded in the short term to include other common sizes between 17 and 21 inches.
* Hankook Kinergy 4S2, the winner of multiple all-season tyre tests for conventionally powered vehicles