KOREA (SOUTH): Kumho Tires bets big on electric vehicle tires

With governments toughening environmental regulations, carmakers have poured more resources into the emissions-free electric-powered vehicles in recent years, which also provides a boon for auto parts makers like Kumho Tires.

In April 2013, Kumho launched the nation's first electric-car tire brand, WATTRUN, pledging to ramp up efforts to take an early edge in the emerging EV market.

Through its innovative tire technologies, the WATTRUN offers significantly lower rolling resistance and noise levels, and enhanced driving force, the company said.

According to Kumho's in-house test results, its electric car tires were 11 % lighter than average tires of the same size in the market, and they recorded 18 % less rolling resistance.

Despite stiff competition, the company has been making headway in the burgeoning market.

In October 2013, Kumho signed an exclusive deal to supply tires for Renault Samsung Motors' all-electric compact SM3 Z.E. until 2018. The company also produces original-equipment tires for Kia's Soul EV.

"Our goal is to dominate the replacement equipment market after supplying OE tires for electric vehicles,” a Kumho official said.

"The electric car-only tire is not yet full-fledged, but we expect Kumho's innovative tire technology will soon vie with global competitors,” he added.

Source: Daily "The Korea Herald”, Seoul; 28 May 2014
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)