The Nokian Tyres story began with tyres that were used all year round. To meet the challenges of the tough Finnish winter, Nokian Tyres invented the world’s first winter tire in 1934. Ever since those early days, safety has been the company’s main priority. Whatever the season, Nokian Tyres wants to ensure that you can trust your tires to get you home no matter what the conditions.
No Nokian Tyres tyre is sent to the roads without vigorous testing, because the team at Nokian Tyres know that no amount of computer simulation can fully represent real-life driving situations. By ensuring that its tyres are prepared and tested for every situation, every driving scenario, customers don’t have to and can instead focus on enjoying the ride.
The company recently opened a new state-of-the-art Spain test center that enables year-round testing of its future summer, all-season and winter tire legends. The focus in the 300-hectare site is on summer and all-season tires and tires with a high-speed rating, but winter tires are also tested at the facility to ensure their safety in all conditions. The location in Spain enables year round testing of summer, all-season and winter tires. In the 300 hectare area there are several test tracks for dry and wet testing. The idea behind all this testing is to simulate situations that drivers may encounter out on the roads. The versatile tracks and modern equipment of the Spain test center enable the team at Nokian Tyres to test tires on wet and dry surfaces, so that heavy rain or intense heat will not bring drivers any surprises. The crown jewel of the test center, however, is the 7-kilometer-long high-speed oval track that enables testing at speeds up to or even exceeding 300 km/h.
Completed in 2021, the Spain test center is the company’s third testing facility. It complements an existing tyre testing network, which consists of a 700-hectare site in Ivalo, Finnish Lapland and a site near its Finnish headquarters in Nokia. All of these test centers are investments in one of the company’s core values- to make the world safer.
The Test centre located in Ivalo, is also known as ‘White Hell’ and this is the facility where Nokian Tyres tests its winter tyres rigorously on snow, ice and slush. Experienced test drivers put the tyres’ performance to the limit in uncompromising tests in order to find the best tyres out of the good ones. If a tyre works under the world’s most demanding conditions it is ready for the road.
As a pioneer in winter tyre technology, Nokian Tyres uses more than half of its R&D spending on product testing. White Hell is the primary testing venue.
Right from the early stages of development, they test a new tyre in authentic environments in order to ensure flawless performance under difficult, demanding and varying conditions. Authentic testing on ice and snow forms an essential part of R&D work because a tyre’s properties cannot be optimised only through computer modelling, explains Manager of the Testing Centre Matti Suuripää from Nokian Tyres.
Developing a new tyre is a long process that takes from two to four years. One major trial is practical testing, which directs further R&D efforts until only the best performing tyre remains, tailored for specific winter conditions. Winter tyres need different properties depending on whether they are used in the icy conditions of the north or in the warmer Central European winter.
The purpose of uncompromising testing and defying the grip limits is to create even better and more reliable winter tyres. Being able to guarantee the safety of the tyres gives drivers peace of mind even on winter roads. If a tyre is tested under the most demanding conditions in the world in Ivalo, it will perform well everywhere, Suuripää adds.
On the Nokia Testing Center, Nokian Tyres simulates almost all driving situations on northern roads. Testing is conducted at Nokia from April to November.
Spreading over an area of 30 hectares, the testing center is constantly being developed to meet the challenges of difficult conditions as well the demands of the future.