Hankook Kinergy AS EV Tires Help Electric Cars be Better
Automakers have spent millions trying to develop aerodynamic designs, more compact batteries, and high-tech systems to ensure that electric vehicles have the most range possible. Little thought, though, has gone into tires, which is odd as the components can dramatically change the way a car feels and drives. Hankook's latest tire, the Kinergy AS EV, should change that.
A New Tire That's Just For Electric Cars
The Kinergy AS EV, as its name implies, is specifically tailored to electric cars. In addition to having a harder compound than a traditional tire, the Kinergy AS EV also features vegetable oil resin in an attempt to be eco-friendly. Hankook refers to the resin as Aqua Pine and obtains the material from conifers. It, reportedly, improves performance in wet conditions. Besides making the vehicle more stable in inclement weather, the resin results in a harder overall compound, which helps with handling and better management of instantaneous torque.
This isn't the first time Hankook has come out with a special tire for electric cars. The Kinergy AS EV is now in its second generation and has been heavily reworked over its predecessor to make electric cars even better. As Wired points out, the belt that sits just below the tread with the Aqua Pine compound is partly made of aramid — a nylon-like synthetic polymer that's incredibly strong. "The Aramid hybrid we use here has a strength rating five times greater than steel," Seung Bin Lim, a senior vice president at Hankook, told Wired.
Aramid is predominantly seen in military and aerospace applications because of its immense strength. In Hankook's tires, the company is hoping the material will help the tire cope with more stress from electric cars' powerful motors. For anyone that's driven the Chevrolet Bolt, the vehicle can spin its front tires easily, which can cause the tires to heat up. Aramid should help in that instance, as it has strong heat resistance, allowing to the tire to hold up better in various conditions.
Stronger Materials For Better Performance
The actual design of the tire will help it retain its shape, too. "Incorporating a wide, strong, rib-shaped shoulder block design helps increase structural integrity and rigidity," said Lim. "This helps improve the handling performance of the tire in addition to reducing wear."
Since electric cars are nearly silent, noise is also an issue that Hankook's new tires have to deal with. Reducing the amount of tire noise that's emitted was possible thanks to an innovative tread pattern and block arrangement. The anechoic sidewall, claims Wired, also helps with the issue.
Hankook is rolling its new tires out in South Korea first with global deliveries set to come out next year. The Kinergy AS EV will face some competition from Goodyear and its new EfficientGrip Performance with Electric Drive Technology that will also come out in 2019.
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