Renowned tire manufacturer, Hankook has set up a new technology center to showcase how much smarter tires will become in the future. There are already tire pressure gauges that automatically warn drivers about loss of tire pressure. New technologies that are currently under development include those that can sense other factors like tire wear, acceleration and temperature and other factors. To keep pace with the development of electric vehicles, hybrids and plug-in hybrids, manufacturers are working on making tires smarter.
Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. opened its USD 250 million “Technodome” research and development center in Daejeon, near Seoul back in October. The facility is a six-story structure that covers one million square feet and highlights the company’s drive to join the ranks of leading tire manufacturers like Bridgestone and Michelin.
Speaking about the new facility, Seung Hwa Suh, Hankook Tire Vice Chairman and CEO, said that the Technodome will be a “great foundation to lead the future of tire technology.” The company has also disclosed plans to construct a large test track that will allow vehicles to reach speeds of up to 180 mile per hour.
One of the main issues facing tire manufacturers is the rapid advances made in the development of electric vehicles. Due to their very nature, EVs need tires that are different from those used for conventional vehicles, they perform differently in a manner requiring different tires. EVs are quiet and need tires that are just as quiet. When compared to conventional cars having the same weight, EVs accelerate faster and in the case of EVs, range is a critical issue and manufacturers will want to optimize range by using tires with less grip.
Generally, when it comes to tires, the emphasis has always been on making tires which increase fuel efficiency due to their low rolling resistance or are highly performance oriented. This perception has to change.
Hankook has recently got a number of OE fitments for vehicles using alternative energy sources including the Mercedes Benz C350e, and the Hyundai Sonata plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV). The company also supplies its Enfren Eco tire which uses several innovative technologies to the Ford C-MAX Energi PHEV. The technologies used in the Enfren Eco include use of a special silica compound and bespoke structural design, to minimizes energy loss and optimize fuel efficiency.
With the increasing relevance of the Internet of Things (IoT), this will also play a role in the way tire technology evolves. Hankook says future development can include embedded tire sensors for detecting and reporting road friction, road conditions, overload warnings and other factors which affect ride comfort and safety of the vehicle.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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