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Hyundai and Kia’s debut concept tires built-in snow chains that extend with a single button press

Published Dec 12th, 2023 8:54PM EST
Hyundai and Kia concept for tires with built-in snow chains
Image: Hyundai and Kia

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If you live somewhere cold, where snow often falls during the winter months, you’re probably already well aware of the importance of putting snow chains on your tires. In the future, though, your tires might have built-in snow chains that can extend at the press of a single button.

This novel idea has appeared online thanks to a concept shared by Hyundai and Kia. The new wheel and tire design incorporates the built-in snow chains, which can deploy and retract as needed. It could make putting snow chains on your tires much easier, completely changing how we approach driving in the winter.

In a new video shared on YouTube, Hyundai and Kia showcase how the new tires with built-in snow chains would work. According to Hyundai, the snow chains built into the tires could extend with the press of a button. Otherwise, the chains would live inside of grooves indented on the tires.

The snow chains here are more like wires, but they would provide the same necessary traction to replace traditional snow chains. The wires are partially made of compressed shape memory alloys, which are extended when an electric current is sent through them. When the current is removed, the wires retract, filling grooves designed directly into the tires.

The concept is still a long way from development, though, as it requires a complete revamp of the tire design that cars currently utilize, especially since they would need electrical currents to be able to enter the tire and extend the built-in snow chains. But it’s still an exciting development that Hyundai and Kia would like to offer in the future.

This particular design is currently trademarked by the two companies in South Korea and the United States. Hyundai also says that the chains would act as a good indicator of when the tires on your car have become too worn down and need to be replaced, as the wires that make up the built-in snow chains would then be exposed even when retracted.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.