Although BMW i3 electric vehicles have been on sale in the U.S. since May 2014, I must confess to never having seen one in the wild.
According to Autodata, through November 5,079 i3s were delivered, so the odds of seeing one are probably Big Foot-like.
Globally, BMW delivered, through November, 13,849 i3s.
Consequently, I don’t think about i3s all that often.
But the folks at Nokian Tyres, which is based in Nokia, Finland, do and have.
Nokian has introduced the Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2, which was specially designed for the BMW i3. It is a winter tire.
Winter tires, of course, need to provide traction. But electric vehicles need to have tires that provide low rolling resistance so that the most can be made of the available power for propulsion.
Jarno Ahvenlammi, Nokian product development manager, says, “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 European tire rating classification related to rolling resistance, the Hakkapeliitta R2 scores an “A,” which the company says has never been achieved by a winter tire.
One aspect of the tire is a compound that they call “Nokian Intelligent eSilica.” This material is said to be strong yet flexible, and it provides grip on ice and snow while still providing wear resistance. Silica particles are in the compound, as is rapeseed oil.
In addition to which, there are “diamond-tough grip particles” in the compound (“Nokian Cryo Crystal Concept”), and the fundamental design of the tires (sipes and sipe activators, grip claws, and slush claws) contribute to the winter requirements.
The tires will become available next month, followed by winter tires for the BMW i8 hybrid in February-March.
According to Autodata, 397 i8s have been delivered in the U.S. so far. Globally, according to BMW, there have been 1,129 i8s delivered.
Here’s hoping the people at Nokian Tyres don’t have big hopes.