Hankook has opened its own European winter tire test facility, named ‘Technotrac’ in Ivalo, Finland, approximately 185 miles (300km) north of the Arctic Circle. The opening of the facility means that Hankook’s winter tires for the European market are not only developed and produced in Europe, but they can also now be tested under real European winter conditions.
Finnish company Test World Oy was commissioned to build the facility at the end of 2015. The facility comprises three flat tracks, which are used for testing braking, traction and lateral stability on snow or ice, as well as two snow handling tracks for subjective tire evaluation, which have been specifically designed to meet the needs of German premium vehicle manufacturers. The site also boasts offices and conference rooms, state-of-the-art workshops, as well as a large cold-storage warehouse. The stable and prolonged winter conditions in Ivalo was one of the factors that influenced the decision to build the most northerly winter test facility in the world in this location.
“Europe is one of Hankook’s largest and most important markets globally, which is why we have spent a long time working towards regional product development”, explained Ho-Youl Pae, head of Hankook Tire Europe. “We are proud that not only our summer tires, but also those with winter treads, both of which are produced in Europe, can now be tested here under ideal conditions to ensure that they are perfectly suited to the prevailing road and climatic conditions, as well as responding to market demands.”