Tue March 2 10:51 am 2021 in category Product news

In the future, winter tires will need to work well under increasingly varying conditions

Future winter tires will need to perform in very varying weather, as the roads may be covered in water, slush, snow, or ice. Nokian Tyres makes the world's best winter tires, and safety will remain the number one priority in the company's tire development.

The primary goal for Nokian Tyres is always to make tires as safe as possible. Tires are a car's only point of contact with the road, so if they lose grip, many of the other safety accessories become irrelevant.

In the future, drivers will encounter even more challenging traffic conditions. Winters are milder, making temperatures near zero more common. As temperatures fluctuate around zero degrees, and the road thaws and freezes over and over again, tire grip will be at its weakest. In this situation, Nokian Tyres´ winter tires show their strength – they are the safest choice for any winter weather conditions.

Weather variations can also be expected to increase, and extreme weather phenomena will become more common. Tire manufacturers cannot focus on developing a single characteristic; instead, they need to offer grip in heavy snowfall and winter rain alike.

– We aim to develop winter tires in a way that is as versatile as possible and to achieve a good balance of grip on ice, wet grip, snow grip as well as aquaplaning and slushplaning properties, says Head of R&D Olli Seppälä from Nokian Tyres.

Nokian Tyres has previously introduced a concept tire with retractable studs. A combination of studded and non-studded winter tires would be very beneficial: studs would offer grip when needed, but the tire's road wear would otherwise be minimal. In the near future, however, consumers will gain access to different types of innovations.

– Sensor technology will become commonplace in tires within the next five years. In winter tires, we will also see development in terms of material choices and stud geometry, and in the ways the tire and stud are connected, says SRA Manager Jarmo Sunnari from Nokian Tyres.

Balancing safety and sustainability

Different driving conditions require different materials, tread patterns, and other characteristics. A tire, however, is a larger whole, and changing one characteristic will usually affect the others. Managing the larger whole is precise work – especially in winter tire design.

– Compared to a summer tire, developing a safe winter tire is a major challenge. The tire manufacturer must aim for optimal grip in varying weather, while considering the tire's environmental impact, among other things, Jarmo Sunnari says.

– Many of the tire innovations are puzzles that combine things in new ways. A key part of innovation is to follow what is happening in the other fields and think about what might work in the tire industry, says Teppo Huovila, Vice President, Quality and Sustainability at Nokian Tyres.

New EU tire labels

In order to make buying suitable and safe winter tires easier, Nokian Tyres has been actively pushing for a change in tire labels. They will be renewed in Europe in 2021.

The largest problem so far has been that not all tires marketed as winter tires are suitable for all winter conditions. Tires designed for Central European winter are completely different from Nordic winter tires. Wet grip and ice grip are mutually exclusive characteristics; the consumer may end up purchasing the wrong tires if the information on the EU label is not versatile and comprehensive.

The ice grip marking will initially only be used for passenger car tires, whereas the snow grip marking is available also for minivans, light truck, truck and bus tires. The markings are based on international standards and regulations. Ice grip test is currently undergoing standardization at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and snow grip is referring to the United Nations ECE regulations.

Learn more:

Experts estimate what driving and tires will be like in 2036

Future tires will be smart

New EU label simplifies winter tire choice for consumers

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Further information:

Zuzana Seidl, PR manager Nokian Tyres CE, 00420 603 578 866,

zuzana.seidl@nokiantyres.com