In May 2022, global leading tire company Hankook Tire will launch iON (pronounced as /ai’on/), its first family of tires specially designed for high performance, premium electric vehicles. By taking this approach, the company wants to make a decisive contribution from a tire choice perspective to advance mobility and the transition towards zero-emission vehicles. Characteristics of the new iON tires include further reduced rolling resistance, notably lower rolling-noise characteristics and high resilience. Compared to conventional tires, 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 launch, in sizes between 18 and 22 inches: in Europe beginning in May 2022 as the Hankook Ventus iON S summer tire pattern, and from September 2022 for the winter as the Hankook Winter i*cept iON. The Hankook Ventus iON A tire will be available as an all-season version for the North American market. Further specific product designs are in the pipeline.
Sooil Lee, CEO & President of Hankook Tire & Technology says, “With the introduction of this new iON tire family, our company is increasingly considering the rapidly growing demand for electric vehicles and the associated need for suitable tires, also in terms of the need for replacements. With an improved range per battery charge, this new generation of tires will help to further optimize 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 tires make it possible to drive more miles per battery charge compared to standard tires, 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 tires from Hankook that have been optimized for electromobility are already being used by Audi, BMW, Porsche, VW and other leading brands. From the 2022/2023 season, the premium tire manufacturer also will 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 Federation International Automobile.
The new iON tires meet the demanding everyday requirements for EV (Electric Vehicle) tires thanks to an extensive set of technical measures. In particular, Hankook has countered the higher vehicle mass of EVs, caused by the considerable weight of the drive batteries, with a higher load capacity. In addition, ultra-resistant aramid fibers 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 tires.
Optimized noise levels
Another development goal was to make tires that would operate as quietly as possible. The Hankook Sound absorber™, in combination with the specific pattern design integrated into the company’s iON products, reduces the interior noise significantly.
Bonhee Ku, Executive Vice President and CTO of Hankook Tire, adds, “We are particularly proud that the new Hankook iON summer tire, for example, has achieved an A/A/A rating on the EU tire label. This corresponds to the highest performance in terms of rolling resistance, wet grip and tire noise.”
Source: Hankook Tire