There are two air chambers inside the Q tire, while conventional tires have only one. The main air chamber, located within the casing, is essentially the same as any regular tire and is sealed to the wheel rim. It's filled with pressurized air to help support the vehicle, while also absorbing road shocks. The Q tire has a secondary air chamber (really a series of chambers connected by channels) located where the tread and casing meet. The studs are located in a series of 120 pods placed in crevasses molded into the tread. (Q Tires says the average traditional studded snow tire has only 80 studs.) While retracted, the Q tire studs rest below the tread surface. They protrude about 1.5 millimeters (0.05 inch) above the tread surface when deployed.
Each individual stud is embedded into its pod during the manufacturing process. The stud pods are then cured right into the tread rubber. As a result, it's extremely difficult to dislodge a stud. These studs will be made of stainless steel or possibly from a composite material. Q Tires notes that their studs "will likely stay in optimal condition for the life of the tire" as they normally ride below the tread surface.
Pressurized air from the tire's main chamber is used to deploy the studs. Pushing a button on the iQ remote transmitter supplied with the tires triggers the deployment. The iQ's wireless signal commands a valve within each tire to open. Q Tire's proprietary valve technology flows the pressurized air into the secondary chamber. As the pressurized air pushes on the flexible stud pods, they bow outward, moving the studs out to their deployed position. From start to finish, the deployment takes about three seconds.
Pushing another button on the remote sends a signal to retract the studs. The technology accomplishes this by evacuating the pressurized air in the stud chamber to the atmosphere. Releasing the air pressure on the stud pods causes them to return to their relaxed state -- which pulls the studs below the surface of the tire tread.
On to the next page, we'll talk about where to find Q tires, how they're mounted and why they'd need special maintenance.