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Studs on demand? Nokian's got 'em

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Nokian Tyres P.L.C. photo Photo shows studs in the retracted position.

NOKIA, Finland (Feb. 28, 2014) — Coinciding with the 80th anniversary of the debut of the first true winter tire, Nokian Tyres P.L.C. has developed a prototype tire with deployable studs.

To make the concept work, Nokian has developed a stud with a sliding metal pin that can be deployed and retracted on demand by the driver. The body of the stud remains in place, Nokian said.

The concept tire uses the tread pattern and structural solutions of the newly introduced Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 SUV studded winter tyre.

Nokian Tyres P.L.C. photo Photo shows the studs in the deployed position.

Nokian's concept differs from the "Q Celsius" tire proposed several years ago by Q Tires Inc. The Q Celsius' studs deployed and retracted thanks to a thin bladder built into the tire below the tread area that inflated on demand.

That project eventually faded because of the elevated tariffs on Chinese passenger tires from 2009-11.

Nokian stressed that this is still very much a concept. There are no plans to market it any time soon, although the basic idea — giving the driver the ability to deploy studs on demand — is rooted in the company's drive for safety.

Nokian Tyres developed and manufactured the world's first winter tire, for trucks, in 1934 and followed that up two years later with an improved solution for passenger car drivers, calling it the Snow-Hakkapeliitta.

The name Hakkapeliita comes from the name of Finnish light cavalrymen fighting in the 30 Years War in the 1630s. The name was derived from a Finnish war cry, "hakkaa päälle," commonly translated as "cut them down!"

The Hakkapeliitta were armed with two pistols and a sword and typically wore a helmet, leather armor and a breastplate of steel, Nokian said, and fought with tactics based on immediate contact, which often decided the outcome of battles quickly.

Regarding the winter tire anniversary, Nokian traces the history on its website with a series of documents.

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