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Nokian Tyres Shows Winter Tire With Retractable Studs: Video

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Modern technology can make some of James Bond's gadgets from just a decade ago look distinctly old-hat. But one Q-brand trick we've not seen yet is winter tires with retractable studs, like the ones seen on Bond's Aston Martin Vanquish in the movie Die Another Day.

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That's until now, as tire manufacturer Nokian Tyres has revealed a concept tire featuring exactly that technology. On what it says is the 80th anniversary of the winter tire, Nokian has invented a tire that can be changed at the touch of a button from a regular treaded winter tire to a studded one, like those used by rally drivers on ice and snow events, or by Nokian's own ice speed record-setting Audi RS 6.

The safety benefits are obvious--on regular roads or lightly snowy surfaces, the tires would operate as normal. But on tightly-packed snow or ice, the studs can be activated for extra grip and traction. Negating any issues with a stud puncturing the surface of the tire, each stud is already mounted in the tire tread in its own housing. When activated, a narrower pin slides out of the housing.

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The stud isn't quite as dramatic as those you'd find on rally tires, but it's enough to provide that extra safety margin in exceptional circumstances--and as Nokian's video demonstrates, endows the car with decent lateral grip and increased ability to stop even on a sheet of ice.

The stud-equipped Hakkapeliitta 8 SUV winter tire isn't yet a production reality, butthe company says it could enter production if testing proves successful and there's sufficient market demand for it.

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