SEOUL-Hankook Tire Co. Ltd. has developed a car tire that it claims has 25-percent lower rolling resistance than comparable passenger tires while offering better wet grip and equal wear.
Hankook initially plans to roll out the tire, dubbed the fx-Optimo, for hybrid vehicles in South Korea.
The 25-percent reduction in rolling resistance translates into a 3-percent increase in fuel efficiency, Hankook said. The tire also weighs 15 percent less than comparable tires.
Hankook said it achieved much of the rolling resistance improvement through the use of silica as a reinforcing agent in the tread compound and an advanced computer-modeling program. Hankook said it enhanced the use of silica in the tread by splitting the silica into nano-size pieces, which improves uniformity and efficiency.
The company calls the new technologies Intelligent Compound System and RR Simulation System; it refers to them collectively as the Hankook Hybrid System and will brand tires designed this way with an HHS logo.
Hankook said it has invested $10.5 million over the past five years developing the technology.
The firm said it has been approved by South Korea´s domestic vehicle makers to supply tires to their hybrid vehicles under development. The company next plans to target the European market, which is sensitive to fuel prices.
"Using our advantage as a market leader, we will lead the market for hybrid vehicle tires," said Hankook Tire CEO Cho Choong-hwan. "In addition, we will step up efforts to increase the performance of run-flat tires, which we succeeded in commercializing last year."