Hankook commits to manufacturing tyres for EV’s.
With demand for electric vehicles (EV) increasing worldwide, Hankook has committed itself to developing top tyre technology to meet the unique challenges posed by the EV market.
As of 2015, the number of registered electric vehicles worldwide was 1.26 million – a number that is increasing steadily and is expected to continue to climb, with marked demand and sales coming from the U.S., China, Japan and Europe.
Hankook Tyre is already supplying OE to Mercedes Benz C350e, Hyundai Sonata PHEV, and its Enfren Eco to the Ford C-MAX Energi (PHEV) but intends to expand its OE supply deals. Currently Hankook’s EV tyres are primarily produced at its Geumsan plant in South Korea and at the Jiaxing Plant in China, although the company is considering using its Hungary plant for EV tyre production.
As the electric vehicle industry continues to evolve, and with the recent introduction of the electric motor, there are changes to how a car will steer, brake, accelerate and sound. This presents an interesting challenge to tyre companies as they work to develop a tyre that works with the car.
Two major issues are the weight of the EV’s battery and its low mileage range, so the EV tyre needs to have low rolling resistance and use high strength material which must be applied structurally. There’s also the issue of noise; EVs are quieter than regular vehicles, so producing a tyre with low road noise is a big deal.
EV tyres also need to be designed specifically to handle an EV’s driving characteristics, like fast acceleration and high torque, which mean the center part of the tyre can experience abrasion due to tyre slip. The shorter mileage ranges, quieter cabins, and heavier curb weight because of the lithium ion batteries are issues that would overwhelm a tyre fitted on regular vehicles, so new technology is needed.
Hankook says it is implementing customized technology development strategies to address the differences in the current EV market. While HEV (Hybrid Electronic Vehicle) and PHEV (Plugin Hybrid Electronic Vehicle) models are tackled with the same technology of general automobiles in reducing rolling resistance, BEV (Battery Electronic Vehicle) models need to be equipped with different technologies.