Hankook Presents Three New Tyres for the Bus and Coach Sector

Hankook SmartCity AU04+ Tyre

The bus and coach sector tyre market is growing with Hankook’s continuing to promote its bus and coach range. Hankook recently released the SmartCity AU04+, their first tyre specifically designed for electric buses. They are also continuing to promote extensively the SmartTouring and SmartTouring DL22 for long-distance coaches. 

Hankook Unveils the SmartCity AU04+ Tyre 

The headline launch for Hankook is the SmartCity AU04+, its first tyre specification for electric buses. The tyre manufacturer is following increasing customer requirements for tyre solutions specifically for use on electric-powered urban buses. As these vehicles are generally heavier than conventional buses due to their energy storage units, the tyres also have an increased load index. To keep battery energy loss to a minimum, the SmartCity AU04+ also stands out on account of its very low rolling resistance.  

In urban stop and go traffic, bus tyres must be able to cope with a particularly heavy load and guarantee safe use at the same time; therefore, special attention was paid to adaptation of the shoulder width and structure during development of the electric bus tyre, in order to ensure extremely even wear. The tread of the AU04+, which has been designed as an all-year tyre, is suitable for all wintry conditions without restriction and bears the snowflake symbol (3PMSF). It goes without saying that the new city bus tyre size is equally suitable for use on city buses with conventional drive concepts. 

Hankook is expanding its tyre portfolio in the urban/city bus sector. For the first time, the tyre maker is supplying a city bus tyre in the size 315/60 R 22.5, optimised for electromotive use. The SmartCity AU04+ stands out in particular due to its very low rolling resistance which helps to ease the strain on the energy storage units of electric-powered urban buses. On account of the increased vehicle weight resulting from the battery weight, the tyre not only has a stable carcass but also an increased load capacity of 154/148J (156/152F) which corresponds to a weight of 8 tonnes per axle. The standard load bearing capacity is usually 7 tonnes per axle for this size 

During development of the bus tyre, special attention was paid to a high traction and braking performance, particularly on wet road surfaces. Dipl.-Ing. Klaus Krause, head of the European Research and Development Centre, explains: “Unlike conventional combustion engines, an electric motor is able to deliver the full torque immediately. This means the vehicle and the tyres respond faster to speed or the changing road conditions. Consequently more demands are made on tyres for electric-powered vehicles. The high grip level avoids irregular tyre wear without having to do without optimum mileage.” 

The high mileage is guaranteed by the optimised zigzag grooves which ensure higher block rigidity thanks to their modified layout, among other things. The constant starting and stopping in city traffic puts a heavy and irregular load on bus tyres. “For this reason we have adapted the shoulder width and design for the SmartCity AU04+ to the increased requirements, thus guaranteeing more even wear. The improved molecular structure of the new tread compound makes the tyre much more heat-resistant and is a further contributing factor to a longer service life,” Dipl.-Ing. Klaus Krause adds. 

Completely in line with the safety aspect, the SmartCity AU04+ also has a further reinforced sidewall. This protects the tyre from damage following the often unavoidable contact with the curb in city traffic: “The reinforced sidewall is particularly important for the protection of electric bus tyres, since they accelerate much more quickly on account of the system and also build up a more aggressive contact to curbstones” Klaus Krause explains. 

SmartTouring for Long-Distance Coaches by Hankook 

With the SmartTouring AL22tyre maker Hankook has a coach tyre for long-distance travel in their portfolio. The company is anticipating that long-distance coach travel will grow in significance, and thus there will be an increasing demand for high-technology coach tyres in this category. The Hankook SmartTouring AL22 can be used on all axle positions and provides maximum ride and rolling comfort, excellent concentricity, a very low rolling noise and, as is customary with Hankook tyresoptimised rolling resistance and low wear for particularly efficient travel. 

The SmartTouring AL22 is Hankook’s state-of-the-art tyre for long-distance coach travel that includes the 3-PMSF symbol for the European market. This is available in the sizes 295/80R22.5 and 315/80R22.5 and is suitable for all long-distance coach wheels in all axle positions. Klaus Krause, Vice President and Head of the European Development Centre in Hanover, adds: “During development of the SmartTouring line, we focused particularly on ride and rolling comfort as well as on a straight driving performance. The characteristics of the SmartTouring AL22 not only allow maximum travel comfort for passengers, they also maximise driving and handling comfort for the driver on long-distance trips.” 

The carcass contour of the SmartTouring AL22 ensures the best suspension properties and contributes to a particularly safe driving style. The longitudinal 5-rib profile with its closed, solid central rib makes an excellent straight driving performance possible at all times. Special Multi-3D sipes guarantee both good traction and an outstanding braking response. 

The bead area guarantees a particularly precise rim joint stiffness, which results in excellent concentricity and travel comfort. The individual belt layers of the SmartTouring AL22 are structurally arranged in such a way that significantly less heat is developed in operation compared with conventional tyres. This effect not only reduces rolling resistance, thus economising on fuel, it also considerably extends the service life of the tyre. 

Fuel savings through reduced heat development have been achieved not only by the belt structure but also by the tread compound used for the Hankook SmartTouring AL22. Special soot molecules with a larger volume and a particularly stable structure are used for the basic tread rubber in particular, leading to a significant reduction in energy loss during movement. These so-called highly structured carbon molecules also guarantee enhanced abrasion resistance and, in combination with the other technologies, help to increase the mileage of the SmartTouring AL22 compared with conventional products by more than 17 percent. 


Introducing Hankook’s SmartTouring DL22  

Hankook is also promoting the drive axle tyre for long-distance coaches in Europe, SmartTouring DL22. Along with the SmartTouring AL22, Hankook has a complete portfolio of coach tyres available for long-distance routes. The company is responding to the growing importance of travelling long-distance by coach and to the increasing demand for high-tech coach tyres with low rolling noise, a high ride and rolling comfort. 

With the introduction of the SmartTouring DL22 in the past, Hankook offers a complete portfolio of coach tyres for long-distance routes to its coach fleet customers. The company is responding to the continuing increase in long-distance coach travel. The tyre maker is rounding off its range in this segment with tyres for the drive axle for use on long-distance coaches. 

The SmartTouring DL22 has a particularly low noise level and therefore offers high ride comfort. The special tyre tread design guarantees uniform tyre wear even during permanent use and makes a high mileage and long service life possible. Like most drive axle tyres from Hankook, the all-year tyre has the 3PMSF symbol and M+S marking. The 3D sipes arranged in a V-shape make top grip and traction properties possible in the snow and wet, without having a negative effect on the mileage performance. The sipe technology of the SmartTouring DL22 also provides good longitudinal and lateral grip as well as directional and lateral stability. Low rolling resistance on the SmartTouring DL22 makes efficient fuel consumption possible. 

About the author

Charlotte Nahon is the Communications and Digital Executive for Commercial Tyre Business. Since 2018, Charlotte has been in the Digital and Communications sector, working in Canada as well as Spain. Her degree is in Communication Studies from the University of Ottawa, and ever since graduating she has been writing for multiple sectors including automotive, energy, education, pharmaceuticals and more. 

Email: charlotte.nahon@retreadingbusiness.com

Phone: (44) 1270 668 718

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