- Multi-Guinness world record holder Rainer Zietlow undertook the first-ever overland trip to the northernmost point of the U.S. Highway System.
- Driving a specialized VW ID.4, Zietlow and his photographer were set to cover 8,500 total miles from Homer, Alaska, to Key West, Florida.
- The cross-country trip was completed on Hankook iON tires.
Hankook Tire, a leading global tire maker, has achieved an impressive feat in the world of electric cars. Renowned adventurer Rainer Zietlow, who holds a Guinness World Records title, embarked on a specially sponsored Hankook Tire cross-country EV tour in the all-electric Volkswagen ID.4. Zietlow and his photographer easily made it through the first leg of their journey in Alaska.
The Course of the Tour
The journey began on March 23 in Homer, Alaska’s southernmost road network point. Zietlow, along with photographer Derek Collins, braved the elements and challenging terrain, reaching Deadhorse, Alaska, on April 4. What’s remarkable is that they became the first people to drive an EV to the northernmost point of the U.S. Highway System during spring, with bone-chilling temperatures around -10°F. Brr.
The second leg of their journey took them all the way down to Key West, Florida, covering an additional 7,500 miles and covering 8,500 miles in total. Because this was supposed to be an EV-focused cross-country tour, they wanted to complete the trip relying solely on existing power sources and any available charging infrastructure, without any additional vehicle support.
As part of their cross-country trip, the team made stops at various Hankook Tire locations, including the brand’s manufacturing facility in Clarksville, Tennessee. The adventure was set to conclude on May 6, 2023, as they reached Key West.
Why Hankook Tire?
The success of this tour relied heavily on the performance of the tires. Zietlow emphasizes the importance of having tires that can handle the challenges of long-distance travel, difficult terrains, and freezing temperatures.
The Challenge4 Volkswagen ID.4 was equipped with Hankook’s EV-specific iON evo all-season tires and iON i*cept SUV tires. The Hankook iON tires were crucial for maximizing the ID.4’s battery range, ensuring the team could confidently reach each checkpoint.
Developed using Hankook’s Evolution technology, the iON tire line focuses on noise reduction, all-season performance, and rolling resistance — essential qualities for electric vehicles.
The key to the iON tires’ performance for this Hankook Tire cross-country EV tour laid in their unique compound formula, which combines high-concentration silica with eco-friendly materials. This composition allows for even pressure distribution, extending the life of both the tires and battery. To accommodate the additional weight of EVs, Hankook employs EV Contour technology, enhancing lateral rigidity and cornering stability. Additionally, the tires feature 3D Kontrol sipes on the main treads, improving performance in various seasons.
It’s worth noting that Rainer Zietlow and the Challenge4 team are no strangers to breaking records. In 2021, they set the Guinness World Records title for the longest journey by an EV in a single country, covering an impressive 35,000 miles across all 48 contiguous U.S. states. That time, they relied on Hankook’s EV tires as they embarked on a tour dubbed the “Volkswagen ID.4: Great Roadshow through the U.S.“
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