Earlier this year, Hankook issued a challenge to students at Pforzheim University’s School of Design: create a tire concept for vehicles of the future. Contest winner Samir Sadikhov (the same designer responsible for the Ferrari Xezri and RAD Beast) thought a bit further off the beaten path than some of his competitors, and given what he came up with, it’s clear why he won.
Meet Sadikhov’s DACAR tire concept, a design that envisions Hankook’s space age entry into the world of Dakar off-road racing. While radical in concept, its implementation is quite simple, and was even inspired by a pair of grippy Reebok ATV sneakers.
The result is a truck tire that can adapt to rough terrain by morphing its surface on the fly. Hexagonal graphene blocks form the tire’s tread pattern. In on-road form, the tire surface grips tarmac like your average road tire. But thanks to an adaptable inner-wheel profile that pushes the blocks outward and away from one another, a knobbier surface is formed that can grab and grip to off-road surfaces like the best mud and all-terrain tires.
Worried about a puncture? The graphene blocks in Sadikhov’s concept incorporate their own air bladder, and at least conceptually could be replaced individually rather than swapping out a whole tire. Flexible carbon fiber composes the concept tire’s sidewalls, and the wheels are made of hardened carbon steel.
The larger concept vehicle, also dubbed the ‘DACAR’, might merely be the result of the edgy tire concept, but there’s no denying it’s quite the looker. The pod-shaped off-roader – inspired by the hexagonal tire treads – features futuristic visuals and a definite style not far-off of the Dakar Rally’s massive T4 truck class.