Nokian invents a winter tyre with retractable studs
Finding the perfect formula for winter tyres is difficult when weather conditions are extremely changeable. For this tyre category, Nokian has come up with a surprising solution that may change matters.
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A versatility problem
There are many different winter tyres designed to meet very specific requirements. If you require a tyre to drive on “black” roads in winter, with sometimes a little snow in the mountains, then you need an “alpin” type winter tyre. If, however, you drive in extremely cold conditions, on roads completely covered with ice, then you must resort to an extreme product such as a studded Nordic tyre. But, if you drive on “simple” and “extreme” terrains, then that’s where it gets complicated: you will never find a tyre that handles one terrain as well as the other. On ice, the non-studded tyre will quickly be out of its depth and the studded tyre will be a nightmare to drive on dry, snow free roads.
The retractable stud solution
On paper, Nokian has come up with a very innovative concept where drivers could easily deal with all possible conditions: a non-studded winter tyre (therefore able to drive on simple terrains, such as a rain soaked, dry or lightly snow covered roads) which could activate studs on its surface when conditions require them. The tyre is transformed via a simple button which extends (or retracts) the studs. In theory, the idea is extremely interesting since it would allow a winter tyre of unrivalled versatility to be developed. Presented by Nokian to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the winter tyre, this concept should continue to find its way through the tyre manufacturer’s design office in the coming years.
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