Hankook introduced its own airless tire technology, the i-Flex, to CES in Las Vegas, by placing them in the four corners of the Hyundai L7 micro-mobility prototype.
The Hankook i-Flex have a diameter of 40 centimeters and a width of 10.5 cm. and are still in the development phase, through bio-metric studies and tests to maximize the absorption of road anomalies and resistance to heavy load.
Their cellular design consists of many layers of material that intersect and are involved with each other, so that their three-dimensional structure provides better absorption. Hexagonal and square cells have different hardness, thus ensuring the stability of the tires under heavy load.
The tread design follows the same cellular design as the walls, and the cavity of its surface in the shape of C aims at maximum contact with the road, to improve adhesion.
Hankook’s i-Flex were designed exclusively for the different rotation needs of the wheels of this particular prototype, in a 10-inch dimension, so they are not yet applicable to mass production. Which means that Hankook hasn’t given a timeline for when we’ll see them on the streets.
But they undoubtedly show the future as the airless tire technology evolves – both by Goodyear and Michelin, among others – that will leave the threads forever in the past. Anyone who has to change the hose in the rain, snow or heatwave knows the value of doing so.
However, the most important aspect of avoiding inclination has to do with road safety and accident avoidance, while according to Hankook, windless tires also have lower maintenance costs – as they do not need constant air pressure control or patches.