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Date 20/04/2006 Hits68,302

Category Corporate

Hankook Tire Develops Ultra Fuel Efficiency Tire

Hankook Tire Develops Ultra Fuel Efficiency Tire


■ Hankook Tire becomes first domestic industry player to develop ultra fuel
   efficiency tire
■ Employed unique Hankook Hybrid System technology
■ Achieved approval for Korean hybrid vehicles
■ “Will use market leadership position to pioneer market for hybrid vehicle tires”

Hankook Tire (, CEO Cho Choong-hwan) announced plans to commercialize an ‘ultra fuel efficiency tire (product : fx-Optimo)’ which drastically maximizes fuel efficiency and minimizes exhaust emissions by lowering rolling resistance.

Hankook Tire became the first industry player in Korea to develop ultra fuel efficiency tires, a technology only achieved by key major tire makers. The company invested a total of KRW 10 billion into the new product over the past five years.

Compared to existing tires of the same size, the new tire boasts 15% reduced weight and 25% lower rolling resistance, for a maximum 3% improvement in fuel efficiency. This means that tire replacement alone can result in raising fuel efficiency by 3%. In particular, the tire showed superior braking and control on wet road surfaces and equal wear compared to existing tires in road tests.

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 tires.”

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 future tire market is expected to be led by Ultra High Performance (UHP) tires which have enhanced driving control, run flat tires which ensure safe driving even in the event of a flat tire, and ultra fuel efficiency tires which improve fuel efficiency. In particular, with the rapid growth of the hybrid vehicle market, the tire industry has recently been concentrating on developing fuel efficient products.

Hankook Tire CEO Cho Choong-hwan revealed, “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 tires which we succeeded in commercializing last year.”

Hankook Tire used a special rubber compound technology and tire 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 refers to ▲ the ‘Intelligent Compound System’ which enhances durability by splitting silica, the tire strengthening agent, into nano-size pieces, improving compound efficiency and uniformity, and ▲ the ‘RR Simulation System’ which drastically reduces overall rolling resistance by accurately predicting the rolling resistance for each part of the tire.

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. For these reasons, the tire industry often used carbon black to reinforce tires. Carbon black is a dark powdery deposit produced commercially by thermal or oxidative decomposition of hydrocarbons. It is mixed with rubber molecules to increase durability. Due to its affinity with rubber, it is easy to use in tire manufacturing but has the disadvantage of performing relatively worse on wet roads and inlow temperatures.

*. Hybrid vehicle
A hybrid vehicle uses a mixture of technologies such as internal combustion engines (ICEs), electric motors, gasoline, and batteries. It is dubbed the future eco-friendly car because of its high fuel efficiency and low exhaust levels compared to existing vehicles. Japanese automakers including Toyota and Honda currently dominate the hybrid vehicle market and Korean manufacturers are developing models.

*. Run flat tire
A run flat tire will enable a driver to continue for a certain distance even with a flat tire.

*. UHP tire
A tire with significantly improved driving performance and control.



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