Hyundai Wheel With Retractable Snow Chains

What is the Cost?
Hyundai Motor and Kia Unveil Snow Chain-Integrated Tire Technology Using Shape Memory Alloy

When the driver needs traction in foul weather conditions, they can send an electric current to the shape memory alloys which causes them to move outward, allowing the grooves to grip the wheel’s edges. Hyundai has figured out a way to ditch standard snow chains. Introducing the new shape memory alloy snow chain, granting the same advantages of traditional snow chains with the press of a button. How does it operate? This freshly developed wheel and tire structure features artificial radial furrows scattered evenly across it. Contained inside these channels are shaped memory alloys that resemble pizza. If the operator finds the need for friction in lousy weather conditions, they can activate an electric current to the shape memory alloys which makes them expand outwardly, enabling the furrows to pinch the wheels exterior.

Upon receipt of an electrical signal, the shape memory alloy modules protrude to act like a snow chain. The elements that emerge from the rubber form a “J” shape to better grip a slippery surface during winter. When not in use, the shape memory alloy resides within the wheel in the shape of an “L”, not coming into contact with the road surface.

Unavoidably, the tire will be degraded until the metal alloys always touch the pavement. At that juncture, the tire must be substituted. Hyundai has revealed it has filed for patent rights in both South Korea and America, with further plans to enhance the technology. Hopefully, if everything runs as expected, Hyundai and Kia will consider producing shape memory alloy snow chains on a larger scale.

A lingering query still stands: what would the full cost be? Not only that of the tire itself, but also the expense of replacing it, accounting for the fact that the shape memory alloy begins at the hub of the wheel? These questions yet remain unanswered.

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