Located on the banks of the Nokia River, Nokian Tyres has been producing tires for a Nordic climate since 1904. In 1936 they produced the world’s first snow tire, the Hakkapeliitta, and made cold-weather climate history.
Since then, Nokian has remained the worldwide leader in winter driving safety. Nokian’s philosophy: Tires are the only things connecting you to the ground. And, as Interior Alaska knows, this close to the Arctic Circle there often is no ground. Tires are the only thing connecting you to ice and snow.
Getting good at the connection between vehicles, ice, and snow has been Nokian’s sole focus for over 70 years. Their line of tread includes “Friction” tires as well as studded tires. Friction tires (known as studless tires in the U.S.) were developed for the shoulder seasons of spring and fall when weather is often unpredictable. Read more here.
But when winter finally settles in, it is time to get real and carry some bite. Tire studs are serious Finnish business. When legislation instituted harsher restrictions on road wear in Europe, Nokian refused to hang up its cleats. Instead of abandoning their studded line of tread, Nokian responded by developing a lightweight carbide-titanium stud that lasts and grips, as well as satisfies DOT demands. And in Alaska, Nokian tires classify as a non-studded tire and are not charged the state fee of $5.00 per tire. Read more here.
Nokian’s 70-year romance with arctic safety doesn’t stop with driving. Health has become a focus. Nokian is the first company in the world to have fully eliminated high-aromatic (HA) oils in its production. HA oils are the by-products of oil refining and are classified as carcinogens.
Nokian has developed a way to replace HA oils with natural oils such as canola in the manufacturing process. This move by Nokian not only benefits them in Finland where the tires are produced, it benefits every community in which the tires are consumed. As tires wear, hundreds of thousands of pounds of tire compound are released into the air and soil. Nokian has found a way to make this by-product of the commuting habit both non-toxic and non-carcinogenic.
The tire industry has developed a term known as “rolling resistance.” Low rolling resistance translates to broad fuel savings over the life of a vehicle.
In plain English, “rolling resistance” refers to the amount of energy it takes to smash a round piece of rubber flat for an instant, as a tire grips the road. This momentary deformation of the tire, and the amount of energy it requires, can be regulated with smart structural and material choices in tire design.
The downside of creating a tire with low rolling resistance is that it focuses on getting rid of the connection between the tire and the road. Through creative chemistry, metallurgy and design, Nokian has developed the leading ice and snow tires with the most economic rolling resistance in the industry.
Nokian has done one thing for over 70 years: Manufacture tires for people who live near the Arctic Circle. They have never branched out to find other markets. They are at home, much like Interior Alaska, in the cold, dark and ice.
Made in Finland, Nokian Tires are one of the few things made specifically for Fairbanks.