Hyundai Motor, Michelin MoU to Develop Tires for Premium EVs

Hyundai Motor Group* announced today the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Michelin to develop next-generation tires optimized for premium electric vehicles (EVs). This new tire technology is needed to meet the durability requirements of tires, as well as driving performance and electric efficiency under high load.

It appears a prime motivator of the new research is on tire performance to accommodate the increases in vehicle weight that will occur as automakers rush to convert or spawn EVs in the utility vehicle and luxury segments, which generally speaking are larger and less efficient than their counterparts in the more modestly priced car segments. As the size, weight and range of EVs continue to increase, so do the demands placed on the tires.

This industry-wide dilemma of developing SUVs as EVs is a less efficient way, of course, to counter the deadly aspects of global warming and climate change. However, since the conversion to EVs is so expensive – hence the tsunami wave of JVs at automakers and suppliers where they are trying to partially offset the costs – what choice do automakers have but pursue the profitable segments where SUVs are dominant?

The signing ceremony took place at the Group’s Namyang Research Center on 17 June attended by Bong-soo Kim, Vice President and Head of Chassis Development Center at Hyundai Motor Group, and Georges Levy, Executive Vice President of Automotive Original Equipment at Michelin.

The agreement is a sequel to the first five-year partnership signed in November 2017 to jointly develop an exclusive tire for IONIQ 5 and carry out experiments and analysis methods related to tires as well as technology exchange. Now, over the next three years, the Group and Michelin will jointly develop the following innovations: eco-friendly tires with increased use of eco-friendly materials; tires optimized for next-generation EVs and a real-time tire monitoring system which will help advance autonomous driving technology.

Aspects include analyzing tire wear, tire load and road friction beyond the current standards of tire temperature and air pressure. The new tires are also expected to significantly improve drivers’ ride comfort by reducing vibration and noise generated by EVs at high speeds. Eco-friendly materials are defined as comprising ~50% of the total tire weight from 20% percent currently.

* Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis brands

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