Premium tyre maker Hankook is updating its UHP winter tyre line-up with the new Winter i*cept evo 3 for cars and the Winter i*cept evo 3 X for SUVs. This new development focuses not only on the changing weather conditions in Europe, but also on the requirements of hybrid and electric vehicles, as manufacturers which will be fitted with the Winter i*cept evo 3 as “ev” version ex works in future. For the first time, the company’s development engineers opted for a directional tread pattern on their new flagship winter tyres. This not only provides excellent grip on snow, but also helps to effectively reduce the risk of aquaplaning.
“With the Winter i*cept evo 3 and Winter i*cept evo 3 X, our development engineers have created two lines of winter tyres with a wide range of product features that are able to respond particularly well to the changing and increasingly demanding winter weather conditions,” says Sanghoon Lee, President of Hankook Tire Europe. “We are therefore confident that these new tread patterns will meet our customers’ high expectations.
“European winters have changed as a result of climate change – mild temperatures alternate with sudden onsets of winter that bring frost and snow, and dry days are unexpectedly interrupted by heavy rainfall,” says Klaus Krause, head of the ETC European Research and Development Center in Hanover, Germany. Even wet leaves on the road surface can quickly spell dangerous road conditions. This makes it all the more important for responsible drivers to use the right tyres during the cold season, and ensure they are well equipped for all winter weather conditions. “A highlight of the third i*cept evo series is hidden in the tread compound. In addition to natural resins, special additives are also used here to ensure the tyre stays flexible at all times, especially at low temperatures, while at the same time achieving significant improvements in grip on wet surfaces,” Krause continues.
This is also confirmed by the latest winter tyre test from Europe’s leading automobile magazine. In its latest issue (No. 38 of 17 September 2020), the magazine Auto Bild tested a total of 56 tyres in the size 245/45 R 18 100 V on a BMW 5 Series. The result: only six treads could be recommended without reservation and awarded the highest rating “Exemplary”, among them the new Hankook Winter i*cept evo 3.
The tyres are highly adapted to winter conditions thanks to technical innovations, particularly in terms of the compounds used and the tread pattern itself. The use of natural pine resins ensures the necessary flexibility at a very wide range of temperatures, prevents hardening and thus helping to improve grip on winter and wet roads due to increased elasticity of the tyre’s contact surface. In combination with the directional tread pattern, grip on snow and wet surfaces is optimised even further. The particularly efficient displacement and drainage of water (or slush) via the two main drainage grooves, which are 20% wider in the V-shaped tread pattern, play an important role in further reducing the risk of aquaplaning. The braking distance on wet roads has also been reduced by 7%, and on snowy roads by as much as 10% compared to previous tread patterns. In addition to the natural resins, a highly dispersible nano-silica compound is used, supplemented by other traction-enhancing additives. Along with the further optimised ratio of positive to negative elements in the tread pattern, this makes the Winter i*cept evo 3 very well equipped for the highly varied road conditions created by the European winter.
In addition to the high-grip tread compound, the further optimised arrangement of 3D sipes in conjunction with the directional tread pattern ensures reliable traction and lateral driving stability on snowy roads. The snow traction performance is supported by an increased number of ice-axe shaped tread block edges that grip the snow effectively.
The minimisation of block movements, achieved by the further optimised arrangement and design of the 3D sipes, has a positive effect on abrasion, as well as ensuring a high level of driving stability. The maximised edge effects also improve the general handling properties.
The new Winter i*cept evo 3 series was developed especially for use on powerful vehicles with a lot of torque. A reinforced carcass structure ensures high driving stability and a high-strength bead core maintains optimised positioning on the rim. In combination with the wide tyre shoulder and the optimised block design, this ensures more precise steering response and improved grip when cornering, as well as optimised handling even on dry roads. The shoulder area of the new Hankook UHP winter tyre, with wide interlocking shoulder blocks, also provides the tread’s necessary block stiffness, thereby increasing cornering stability even at higher speeds.
Both tread patterns are mainly manufactured in Hankook’s modern European production facility in Hungary. When it comes to market, the Winter i*cept evo 3 tread pattern for cars will be available in 50 sizes from 17 to 21 inches with tread widths from 195 to 295 mm and aspect ratios from 30 to 60 in the speed indices from H to W. The SUV version, the Winter i*cept evo 3 X, is currently available in 45 sizes from 17 to 22 inches with tread widths from 215 to 315 mm and aspect ratios from 30 to 65 in speed indices H to W. Over the course of next year the line-up will be further expanded, and the predecessor gradually replaced.
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