Korean tyre manufacturers are catching up with the fast-changing car market by developing innovative and high-tech tyre products.
Currently, Kumho Tire is developing plastic tyres which will not become flat. The futuristic tyres are made up of special plastic materials which will be a first of its kind in South Korea on its launching within this year.
Meanwhile, Hankook Tire proposed a transforming tyre concept that can change its shape in relation to different road surface conditions. This concept deviates from existing tyres whose variations are limited to flatness ratio and tread.
South Korean tyre manufacturers also try to accelerate the development of electric vehicle (EV) tyres. Since an EV is characterised by carrying a battery weighing approximately 200 kg, it requires more traction and wear resistance compared to a non-electric car.
Tyre manufacturers are now working on products dedicated to EVs. In 2014, Kumho released the first tyre specialised for EV. It had its improvement last year through WattrunVS31 which is 25% lighter than a general tire. On the other hand, the Kinergy AS EV of Hankook Tires provides an ultra-low noise environment specially made for EVs. It is characterised by incorporating various noise reduction techniques, such as a polyurethane sound absorber attached to the inside of the tyre and noise suppression at a particular frequency.
In 2016, Nexen Tire also released N’blue EV which has excellent handling capability for wet,dry and even in light snow driving environments. Nexen Tire is also opening its new R&D center in Magok Seoul next month, which focuses on developing advanced tyre design technology for EVs and environmentally friendly tyres.