Kumho appears to be a tire manufacturer with a little bit of a conscience. It produces millions of tires for today’s SUVs, but is acutely aware that such vehicles will have to change dramatically if they are to survive ever greener vehicular legislation. They will also have to provide a better balance of on and off-road ability. To emphasize this point, the company has created its vision of the SUV of the future in the form of the new Fortis concept vehicle.

In line with its sustainability theme, the vehicle’s bumper sections, doors, bonnet, front wings and rear hatch are all manufactured from recycled tire rubber.

Underpinning the aggressively styled body structure is a modular chassis and drivetrain concept that will be developed through subsequent designs, the platform allowing for different vehicles to be easily packaged around common parts.

The drivetrain comprises four 100hp in wheel electric motors that create a neat AWD system. This system provides off-road traction, ESP and hill descent, while the motor configuration allows for easy transition between 4WD, 2WD, FWD and RWD.

Power comes from a lithium-ion battery pack and Kumho believes the viability of such alternative propulsion will depend on the technology becoming as user friendly and convenient as petrol and diesel are today. Recharging can be done at home or via special stations with replaceable batteries.

As you’d expect for a concept vehicle from a tire manufacturer, the Fortis also features new tire technology.

Currently, the only way an SUV will provide ideal performance both on and off-road is to change the tires for each requirement. The Kumho Fortis, however, allows its driver to specify the performance required from just one set of tires by having a tread pattern that can be adjusted at will.

The tires feature metal biters in their tread that optimize off-road performance by clawing into the terrain. For on-road use, the tire cavity is inflated. This expands the rubber areas of the tire to cover the metal biters, offering high levels of comfort, noise performance and road-biased dynamic ability.