Hankook introduces tyres for electric city buses

Hankook says it developed the first tyre specifically for urban electric buses used in public transport. According to the company, the new e-SMART City AU56 offers "low rolling resistance, high load capacity, and excellent grip."

Image: Hankook

As the manufacturer points out, tyres for electric buses must meet the high demands in everyday use. For instance, rolling resistance must be low for the bus to achieve the maximum range possible on one charge. The tyres must also safely transmit the high torque of electric vehicles to the road without causing excessive wear. And the tyres need to be able to handle the weight of an electric bus, which is heavier than ICE models because of the battery. Furthermore, especially in urban traffic, the tyres must be quiet to increase passenger comfort inside the bus.

Hankook says it has considered all these points when developing the SMART City AU56. The company also used advanced technologies such as AI-assisted design, testing with digital twins, and 3D-printed tread patterns.

City street tyres are subjected to high mechanical loads, so the new e-SMART City AU56 has specially reinforced sidewalls to protect against shocks and damage when approaching kerbs and bus stops closely. The sidewall is designed to be as robust as possible while meeting all the demands of everyday urban use. Additional safety is provided by a new three-stage indicator that makes sidewall wear visible at a glance.

The tyre features S-shaped sipes between the lateral and tangential tread blocks, improving interlock between the blocks. That extends durability and increases the grip required due to high torque. Additionally, three-dimensional zigzag lines within the tread blocks contribute to this. As tread depth decreases, hidden grooves and sipes are revealed, enabled by 3D printing technology. It ensures safety, traction, and wet grip throughout the tyre’s lifecycle. Small, stepped blocks ensure even wear and prevent stone trapping, further extending the tyre’s lifespan.

“We’re very proud to present our first product developed specifically for all-electric city buses with the e-SMART City AU56,” says Guy Heywood, Vice President Marketing Strategy Truck and Bus at Hankook Tire Europe. “This tyre increases the efficiency of public transport and advances the transition to electromobility. Its low wear rate enables long-term use, thus reducing costs. High-strength materials and innovative design ensure durability even under extreme load conditions. Its structure also makes it ideal for regrooving and retreading, which contributes to reducing resource consumption.”

The e-SMART City AU56 will initially be available in the standard commercial vehicle size 275/70 R 22.5 and is suitable for all axle positions. The tyre features the M+S marking and the snowflake symbol (3PMS), confirming its winter suitability. Additionally, it has a new pictogram in the form of an electric bus on the sidewall, explicitly identifying it as an E-Bus tyre.



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