Studded tires may make it easier to drive on ice, but those same studs will quickly wear down when used on dry asphalt – plus, they'll create a very rough, noisy ride. The problem is, most winter drivers encounter both types of road conditions, often even on the same trip. That's why Nokian has created a snow tire with retractable studs.
Currently just a demo project, the tire is a variation on the existing Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 SUV studded winter tire. Instead of that tire's permanently-deployed studs, however, the new one features studs with a flat housing that remains in place, from within which a hard metal pin can be raised or lowered.
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The idea is that drivers could activate the studs on all four wheels from within the vehicle when approaching icy patches, simply by pressing a button. When conditions improved, they could withdraw them again.
Although there's no hard word on commercial availability, Nokian has stated that "The unique stud concept may indeed become a reality one day." The tires can be seen in action in the video below.