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Push to Paddle: Hyundai and Kia design push-button snow chains

Toronto, Ontario — Hyundai and Kia have created deployable traction paddles meant to act as push-button snow chains to eliminate winter road inconvenience.

The specific invention is made up of a shape memory alloy integrated with snow chain technology. A series of alloy fingers are tucked into the tire design and connected to the wheel’s hub.

When activated, the alloy fingers are meant to protrude from beyond the tire’s circumference, becoming traction paddles.

While true paddle tires do exist, the automakers note that they are largely for hardcore off road use rather than the everyday.

“This technology takes advantage of the shape memory alloy’s ability to return to its original shape when an electric current is applied. During normal driving, the shape memory alloy located inside the wheels is compressed into the shape of the letter ‘L’ and does not contact the road surface,” the automakers said in a press release.

“When the driver activates the function, an electric current is applied, causing the shape memory alloy to revert to its original profile; the material forms a ‘J’ shape, pushing the module out of the tire to make contact with the road surface and improving grip, stability and safety on snowy roads.”

Hyundai and Kia are considering mass production of this new product after further technological development, durability and performance tests and regulation reviews have occurred.

Concerns have been raised by some early reviewers about the financial concerns related to the invention. Specifically, concerns have been raised about how a bespoke line of specialty shaped tires would have to be made to accommodate the paddles, and how this would be adding potential costs for consumers.

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