It's been more than 100 years since the car tyre was invented and yet still we suffer flats. While car engines are getting electric overhauls the best wheels can offer are run-flats that get you to a garage in time for you to spend hundreds of pounds replacing them. Hankook, with its new i-Flex, aims to end that.
The i-Flex uses tech developed by Bridgestone, among others, and takes it to a new level. The Korean tyre company has effectively combined the tyre and wheel to do away with any need for air. A complex mesh of 95 per cent recyclable material creates a wheel which absorbs bumps making it an integrated suspension unit.
The i-Flex uses an array of geometric cells to both dissipate shock and provide structural rigidity for a degree of handling and ride comfort a normal tyre couldn't hope to offer. And it even saves fuel, thanks to a drop in overall weight. Plus it's quieter than current efforts - making for an even more comfortable ride in already near-silent electric cars.
Electric cars have fought for a place on the roads while companies oppose them, and Hankook may have a similar problem. Current tyres, unfortunately, use a lot of oil in production and this eco-friendly version may upset that market. Here's hoping the i-Flex superior tyres make it to electric cars soon as they begin to reshape the way we look at transport.