The company has spent five years and 10 billion won developing the new tyre and has hinted that this release will form the basis of a “green strategy” that will target the hybrid vehicle market.
Hankook reports that, compared to existing tyres of the same size, the new tyre boasts 25% lower rolling resistance, for a maximum 3% improvement in fuel efficiency. In addition, the tyre is said to exhibit enhanced wet braking and control characteristics compared to existing tyres.
A Hankook Tire source said: “Although a reduction in rolling resistance usually results in greater wear, this product delivered equal levels of durability compared to existing tyres.”
Hankook Tire also achieved quality approval to equip hybrid vehicles being developed by domestic auto manufacturers. By securing ultra fuel efficiency rubber compound and design technology, the company has prepared the foundation for targeting the hybrid vehicle tire market. Hankook Tire plans to initially grab the lead in the European market, which is sensitive to fuel prices.
The launch of the new tyre represents the development of a new strategy, according to Hankook Tire CEO Cho Choong-hwan. “Using our advantage as a market leader, we will lead the market for hybrid vehicle tires. In addition, we will step up efforts to increase the performance of run flat tyres which we succeeded in commercializing last year.”
In an official statement describing the new technology, Hankook representatives described how the company used a special rubber compound technology and tyre structure design for the new product. It named the new technology the ‘Hankook Hybrid System (HHS)’ and will brand future product sidewalls with the HHS logo.
HHS is Hankook’s brand name for its ‘Intelligent Compound System,’ which aims to enhance durability by splitting silica particles nano-sized pieces.
Hankook Tire mainly employed silica (SiO2) as a reinforcing agent in developing the new product. In the past, there had been difficulties in using silica due to its weak durability and problems in compound mixing, despite its advantages of being less sensitive to temperature or weather changes and greater fuel efficiency by reducing rolling resistance. In this instance, Hankook believes it has got the right balance of silica and carbon black, which has the opposite advantages.