Hyundai has unveiled an innovative wheel and tire design that could revolutionize winter driving – tires equipped with built-in snow chains that can be deployed or retracted at the push of a button. This breakthrough promises to eliminate the cumbersome and chilly process of manually fitting and removing traditional snow chains.The new tire design features six indented grooves across each tire, aligned with the wheel’s six spokes. Nestled within these grooves are robust snow chain-like wires, retracted deep into the tread. Hyundai employs compressed shape memory alloys in crafting these wires, allowing them to expand and activate when an electric current is applied. This means that, when faced with treacherous road conditions or legal requirements for snow chains, a simple button press triggers the shape memory alloy to revert to its original form, extending the snow chain wires above the tread. No more grappling with frozen chains, wet knees, or slushy shoes – it’s a game-changer for winter driving.
Hyundai highlights an additional benefit of this technology – the visibility and audibility of the deployed snow chains serve as a clear indicator for when it’s time to replace the tires. This concept, although currently in the developmental stage, holds immense promise for the future of winter tire technology.
Joon Mo Park, Hyundai’s Head of Advanced Chassis Development Team, expressed the company’s commitment to transforming advanced technologies into practical solutions for customers. However, the implementation of this concept requires a comprehensive redesign of the entire wheel assembly, including electrical connections. It necessitates collaboration between Hyundai and tire manufacturers to bring this innovation to fruition.
Hyundai has already secured patents for this technology in South Korea and the USA, signaling the company’s serious intent. The next steps involve extensive technological development, durability and performance tests, and regulatory reviews. While it may take time for mass production, the potential convenience and safety benefits make this concept an exciting prospect for those who frequently navigate snowy or icy conditions. Here’s hoping we witness this groundbreaking technology on Hyundai and Kia vehicles sooner rather than later!