Hyundai has recently introduced an innovative wheel and tire design, featuring built-in snow chains that can be activated or retracted with a simple push of a button. This groundbreaking technology aims to eliminate the cumbersome process of manually attaching and removing traditional snow chains in cold and challenging weather conditions.
The new tire design includes six indented grooves that align with the wheel’s spokes. These grooves house thick wires, resembling snow chains, that are neatly retracted into the tire tread. The wires are partially made of compressed shape memory alloys. When an electric current is applied, these alloys expand, pushing the wire loop above the tire tread, effectively transforming the tire into a snow-chain equipped wheel.
This transformation can be initiated effortlessly by the driver, eliminating the need for physical labor in adverse weather. It promises convenience and safety, particularly in regions where snow chains are mandated by law during certain conditions. Moreover, the visibility and sound of the deployed snow chains serve as an additional reminder for tire replacement, as noted by Hyundai.
Joon Mo Park, Hyundai’s Head of Advanced Chassis Development Team, highlighted this development as a testament to Hyundai’s dedication to translating advanced technologies into practical solutions for consumers. He expressed optimism about the potential integration of this innovation in Hyundai and Kia vehicles in the future.
However, the implementation of this technology involves significant challenges. It necessitates a complete redesign of the wheel assembly, including the integration of electrical connections. This redesign requires collaborative efforts between Hyundai and tire manufacturers to ensure feasibility.
Hyundai has already secured patents for this technology in South Korea and the USA. The company is actively considering the mass production of these tires, contingent upon further technological advancements, durability and performance testing, and regulatory compliance checks.
This technology, once brought to market, could offer immense convenience and safety benefits to drivers who frequently navigate snowy or icy conditions. It represents a significant leap in automotive innovation, potentially setting a new standard for vehicle preparedness in winter conditions.
As it stands, Hyundai’s concept remains an ambitious and promising idea, with the potential to significantly impact driving safety and convenience in winter weather. The automotive community eagerly anticipates its progression from concept to reality, hoping for its timely introduction to the market.