The Nokian Hakkapeliitta winter tyres combine inventiveness, experience and state-of-the-art technology

The winter tyre developed and produced by Nokian Tyres revolutionised driving under the slippery Nordic conditions more than 80 years ago. In the further product development of the Nokian Hakkapeliitta winter tyre, the northernmost tyre manufacturer in the world will focus on safety, driving comfort and eco-friendliness. The trust in the safety of the Nokian Hakkapeliitta winter tyres will even pass on from one generation to the next.

The Nokian Hakkapeliitta winter tyres are designed for challenging environments where the road conditions can vary from sleet to snow and icy roads. Nokian Tyres is actively developing a new winter tyre technology that enables safe transport even at northern latitudes.

One example of the new approach to winter tyres is the concept tyre that combines the driving comfort of non-studded winter tyres with studded tyres’ superior grip on ice and slushy roads.

‒ Under varying winter conditions, the driver could bring out the studs of the winter tyre at the push of a button before braking or whenever a firmer grip is needed. The development of the concept tyres is still underway but this innovation gives some idea of what kind of tyres we might be driving on in the future, explains Juha Pirhonen, Vice President, Research and Development at Nokian Tyres.

Juha Pirhonen, Nokian Renkaat Oyj, Tutkimus- ja kehitysjohtaja
"Under varying winter conditions, the driver could bring out the studs of the winter tyre at the push of a button before braking or whenever a firmer grip is needed."
Juha Pirhonen, Nokian Tyres plc, Vice President, Research and Development

Eco Stud 8 – record-breaking modern stud technology

The manufacturing of the Nokian Hakkapeliitta tyres started in 1936, and they became internationally known at the legendary Monte Carlo rallies in the 1950s and 1960s. The cars equipped with studded Kometa-Hakkapeliittas dominated the snowy and icy mountain roads.

Tyres have improved immensely from the days of the Kometa, and modern stud technology maximises the handling and driving comfort. The modern Eco Stud 8 concept also addresses the needs of the consumers and the environment better than before.

- Even though we were able to increase the number of studs, the new generation of studs has lower road wear than the previous models, which also reduces the amount of road dust, says Matti Morri, Technical Customer Service Manager at Nokian Tyres.

The innovative stud includes several properties that are the result of years of careful development work.

- The flange helps the anchor stud to firmly bite into the road, ensuring grip under slippery and challenging road conditions, while the stud cushion adds a spring effect that dampens the road contact. This improves the driving comfort and is also good for the environment, Morri explains.

Handling and stability under surprising conditions are based on the tyre’s longitudinal and lateral grip on ice, which is improved by the new stud distribution as well as the stud design. The stud technology that improves control under extreme conditions is featured in the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 winter tyres that have succeeded in tyre tests around the world. These state-of-the-art studded tyres were used for the incredible world record for the fastest car on ice at 335.713 km/h.

Built-in “studs” for non-studded tyres

In addition to the studded tyres, we have improved the grip properties of Nordic non-studded winter tyres as well. The Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 features the Cryo Crystal concept that significantly improves the grip on slippery roads and ice.

- The invention is based on microscopic diamond-hard particles in the rubber compound that resemble crystals. The tough, multi-edged particles are eco-friendly and function almost like built-in studs, Morri describes.

Sustainable thinking also encompasses energy-efficiency

Nokian Tyres has a broad view on safety. The development efforts address consumers’ requests and needs. According to Pirhonen, product development has extended the service life and improved the fuel economy of the tyres, making them easier on the wallet.

- Sustainable safety, for example, means that a tyre’s properties need to remain virtually unchanged throughout its service life. It is important to communicate to the drivers when the wear starts to affect the safety of the tyre, Juha Pirhonen explains.

The best inventions are often ingeniously simple but functional, like the Driving Safety Indicator (DSI), patented by Nokian Tyres. It allows the driver to see the remaining tread depth of the tyre’s main grooves. The patented invention improves safety, and we use it in our summer and winter tyres. When tread depth gets below 4 mm, the tyres should be replaced in order to ensure safety.

Our successful product development was recognised internationally when the new Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 winter tyre won the esteemed Tire Technology of the Year 2016 award.

- Our Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 is the world’s most energy-efficient tyre and the first winter tyre with the class A rolling resistance rating. The non-studded tyre is especially designed for improving the range of electric and hybrid cars but, for drivers of petrol and diesel cars, the low rolling resistance means reduced fuel costs and CO2 emissions in addition to the pleasantly low rolling noise, Pirhonen says.

Tread compounds improve, and rubber compounds include canola oil

What is next in store in the research and development of tyres?

– Eco-friendliness continues to guide our future product development. The Nokian Hakkapeliitta tyres use new kinds of rubber compounds that reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. We are already using renewable raw materials, including canola oil and pine oil, because canola oil, for instance, improves the rubber compound’s durability and grip on ice, explains Vice President, Research and Development Juha Pirhonen.

Technical Customer Service Manager Matti Morri envisions that the largest leaps will be taken in stud technology, in particular, as well as improved tread compounds. The aim is to give drivers even more peace of mind – regardless of the road conditions they face.

Further information:

Vice President, Research and Development Juha Pirhonen, Nokian Tyres, tel. +358 10 401 7708, juha.pirhonen@nokiantyres.com

Technical Customer Service Manager Matti Morri, Nokian Tyres, tel. +358 10 401 7621, matti.morri@nokiantyres.com

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