NOKIA, Finland, January 5, 2015 (ENS) – A winter tire designed for BMW’s i3 electric car goes on sale this month, designed and manufactured by Finnish tiremaker Nokian.

The world’s first winter tire with an A energy rating under the European rating system, the non-studded Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 allows for “safe, economical, and high-performance driving on snow and ice in demanding Nordic winter weather,” the company says.

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A BMWi3 equipped with Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 tires (Photo courtesy Nokian and BMW)

“We are proud to be able to offer more winter grip, less worry, and, in particular, more range to the ever-increasing number of electric car owners. Making transport safer and greener is also a leading principle for our product development,” says Nokian Product Development Manager Jarno Ahvenlammi, who leads the testing and development of Nokian’s special products for electric vehicles.

In northern Finland, the winter is eight months long. The first snow falls in late August or early September. The snow cover is usually thickest in mid-March and can last into early April, lending urgency to the quest for the safest, most efficient winter tires.

Known for its winter tires, Nokian operates the only permanent winter tire testing facility in the world.

The size of the new Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 is 155/70R19 84Q.

The Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 delivers 30 percent lower rolling resistance compared to other winter tires on the market. The energy savings gained from the lower rolling resistance increases a vehicle’s range.

Reducing rolling resistance requires control over the complex relationship between the tire structure, tread pattern, and rubber compounds.

Maximizing the energy efficiency and safety of the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 for electric and hybrid vehicles required developing new types of rubber compounds, the company says.

Electric cars are light with fine tuned aerodynamics, which makes them challenging for tire designers.

“Our new, relentlessly tested technology concept makes the tire body firm and stiff, and this, together with several new material components, minimizes the tire’s heat generation and internal deformation. This allows for extremely low rolling resistance that is world record class. In the future, we will be using the same technology in our other winter products,” explains Ahvenlammi.

The molecular chains of the Nokian Intelligent eSilica tread compound connect with silica particles to form a strong, flexible combination. The rubber compound works well across a wide temperature range, improving winter grip and further reducing rolling resistance.

The canola oil used in the rubber compound adds tear strength to the new Hakkapeliitta, increasing its durability, and improves its grip on snow and ice.

“The arrow-like tread pattern and the safety innovations that improve handling, such as the grip particles and pump sipes of the Cryo Crystal concept, ensure balanced handling and excellent winter grip, even on wet ice,” Nokian says in a statement announcing the new tires.

The pocket-type sipes on the tire shoulder remove water from the road surface, ensuring a stable, sure grip. The increased volume of the patented pump sipes and the large number of zigzag sipes further improve the tires’ grip on wet and icy surfaces.

Sipe activators located on the edges of the tread boost the functionality of the sipes under the most slippery conditions. The wider sipe activates a narrower one.

The grip claws located between the tread blocks improve grip on snow and ice, especially while braking and accelerating.

To prevent slush-planing, sharp triangle-shaped slush penetrators were designed on the critical shoulder area of the tires. The slush claws on the shoulder area allow for optimal grip even in thick slush, and prevent the accumulation of slush between the tread blocks.

The new Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 is available to consumers in the Nokian’s key markets, the Nordic countries and Russia. In Norway, nearly all consumers have selected Nokian Hakkapeliittas as the winter tires for their electric cars.

Nokian Business Manager Petri Niemi says, “We work in close co-operation with the leading car manufacturers in order to be able to provide the best and most modern products in the industry for drivers who experience the Northern winter; electric and hybrid vehicles are no exception. Our excellent success in comparison tests is also proof of the success of our strategy. During this winter, our winter tires have achieved over 40 test wins in car magazines, which is a record in and of itself.”

The non-studded Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2 – size 215/45R20 95R XL – designed for BMW’s new i8 hybrid vehicle, will be introduced in February-March 2015.

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