The extreme conditions of the Nordic winter require special knowledge. This is no news to Finnish Nokian Tyres, the world’s northernmost tyre manufacturer, and Arctic Trucks, an Icelandic company specializing in conversions of four-wheel drive vehicles. The two companies have teamed up before in order to master the world’s harshest winter conditions. The latest result of the partnership between the two experts of ice and snow is the Nokian Hakkapeliitta 44 winter tyre.
In the arctic climate, it is important to be able to trust your tyres and know for sure that the trip will not be interrupted by a puncture or impassable terrain. Arctic Trucks’ special vehicles are used, for example, in polar expeditions, so their tyres must also meet high requirements. The tyre is designed for hard use in harsh winter conditions, and that is where it feels most at home.
Nokian Hakkapeliitta 44 is especially tailored for Arctic Trucks’ special expedition vehicles and it excels in grip and durability. The novelty weighs approximately 70 kilos and its diameter is over a meter. Despite its robust size, the tyre moves through deep snow with ease.
The middle section of the tread pattern features very sharp V-shaped angles that are optimised for cleaning the grooves from snow and slush. The width of the tread as well as the tyre’s maximal airspace both guarantee that the tyre moves efficiently even on a soft surface.
Nokian Hakkapeliitta 44 is the continuation of the story that began in 2014, when the first product of the cooperation between Nokian Tyres and Arctic Trucks, Nokian Hakkapeliitta LT2 AT35 winter tyre for big 4-wheel drive vehicles, was launched. Before this, the companies had collaborated commercially for a long time.
The origin of Arctic Trucks can be traced back to 1990 when Toyota in Iceland started modifying 4×4 utility and sport utility vehicles. Today Arctic Trucks are the leading professionals, specialising in conversions of various 4WD vehicles. In this feature Emil Grimsson, founder and chairman of Arctic Trucks explains how special the Hakkapeliitta 44 tyre is , and the difference it has made to working on and travelling across Antarctica. As Emil explains..
“My first experience with Nokian Tyres, real experience was basically an expedition we did from the south tip of Greenland all the way across the center, over to the north and off the north part and basically having to go all the way south again, naturally,as the cars were there and there was no other exit there. This was a 5000 some kilometers drive. And, the car I was driving was on the 18 Nokian Tyre and the other cars were on the tyres we used previously or had been using up to this point. The experience I got from this was that the main benefits were two things.One thing is that I was using a lot less fuel and it’s hard to compare because the cars were not carrying exactly the same load and things like that. But, my estimate it was in the area of 15 to 20% more fuel efficient on the snow on average. And for us,expedition wise, It’s huge. I mean, in Antarctica we will pay $10,000 or something for fuel barrel at some locations. And we need a lot of fuel down there. So this is very, very important. Ah, and the second thing is that when the snow conditions become very difficult. Very soft this tire is just superior in the way it compresses the snow and gives you flotation. So we can do much more in soft snow than we could before with another similar size tire.
Previously on the other tyres, that we used before the Nokian Tyres, when we got into soft snow we would have to put in a crawler gear where we go, like, low low and just try to squeeze on and it would take us hours to get a few kilometers. on the new tire, you’re just in low and you’re moving 15, 20 kilometers an hour. This is a completely new dynamic for doing this. And besides this, the tyre is quiet on the highway, it feels good in steering and overall its really, really good. There are some sacrifices made in a very few conditions for example if we have mud or something like this, you know, the tyre has a fine tread that is more tailored to the snow. But we are seldom in those conditions. It may suffer a little bit also in very very wet snow conditions. But overall, there is no comparison. We are just super happy with this new tyre. And we see this as a huge step forward in this size of tyre. And this is basically the only tyre on the market today that can allow both driving nicely on the highway and being quiet and nice and then also super good on soft snow.
And there’s another issue, for example, if I take Antarctica the tyre we had before or have been using there, and that there’s still some of the cars that use this tyre , we face temperatures below minus 50 C. And any time we are in the area or coming close to minus 40 C, (which is basically the same in fahrenheit minus 40) if we stop on the older tyres, the tyre will not function. You know it needs heat. It needs to get some heat and it will get cracks in it and things like that. And it’ll take us a long time to get going with the old tyres in that kind of temperature.
Because when the tire is not flexible, it just doesn’t give you the flotation you need and it’s a very tricky and also a bit of a risky situation we have on the high plateau, when this scenario occurs. The Nokian Tyre on the other hand, lets us stop in minus 40 and even lower and we can still drive off. Of course, in this temperature, we also need to consider other things also, the application of the gear ratios and on the gearboxes and things like that.
Normally When we stop we need to be very careful when we take off again. But the Nokian tyre is never the issue. It just functions really well. I don’t know where the limit is for that tyre, but I don’t think I need to test it”.
You can also check out the recent video we created for the Nokian Rotiiva AT Tyres a great all terrain tyre that is approved for winter use.