Hyundai and Kia unveil integrated snow chain technology

Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation have revealed an innovative snow chain-integrated tire technology to enhance safety during winter driving. In a video accessible on the Hyundai Motor Group’s YouTube channel, the groundbreaking features of this technology are showcased.

The essence of this technology lies in integrating shape memory alloy modules within the wheel and tire structure. Positioned inside, these modules protrude outwardly, functioning as an automatic ‘snow chain’ upon receiving an electrical signal. This departure from traditional, cumbersome snow chains eliminates manual installation and removal, offering a seamless solution for drivers seeking enhanced safety in snowy environments.

Joon Mo Park, Head of the Advanced Chassis Development Team, expressed the company’s dedication to translating cutting-edge technologies into practical solutions for consumers. He noted that the innovation aligns with their commitment to advancing vehicle safety and convenience, ultimately delivering added value to their customers.

The tire technology encompasses a wheel and tire assembly featuring radial grooves arranged at regular intervals, resembling a pizza. Shape memory alloy modules are inserted within these grooves, creating a configuration that maximizes traction on snowy surfaces. The technology harnesses the unique property of shape memory alloy, allowing it to return to its original form when subjected to an electric current.

Hyundai and Kia Snowchain technology video:

During routine driving conditions, the shape memory alloy within the wheel remains compressed into an ‘L’ shape, avoiding contact with the road surface. Upon activating the function, an electric current prompts the alloy to revert to its original ‘J’ shape, extending the module from the tire to establish contact with the road. This transformation significantly enhances grip, stability, and overall safety on snowy roads.

An added feature of the technology is its ability to signal tire degradation. If the tire wears down to the height of the inserted module during regular driving, drivers are promptly alerted, preventing oversight in the tire replacement cycle.

Currently patent-pending in South Korea and the U.S., Hyundai Motor and Kia aim to move toward mass production following extensive technological development, durability testing, performance assessments, and regulatory reviews. The unveiling of this snow chain-integrated tire technology marks a significant step towards creating safer and more convenient driving experiences in icy conditions.

While snow chains are useless here in the Philippines, it’s exciting to see these technologies being developed.



Carlos Miguel Divino

Carlos Miguel Divino

Carlos has lived and breathed cars his entire life. His abundant wealth of knowledge, extensive seat time on the world's best driving roads, and unsatiable curiosity for anything with wheels all mesh together to produce works of passion. IG: Email: [email protected]

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