What to consider when buying tires for your EV

 In EV Industry

When it comes to buying tires, we all know that the options are endless and that it always pays to shop around. There are already all-season tires, all-terrain tires, low profile tires, mud tires, performance tires, and winter tires, but should there also be EV tires? When it comes to shopping for new car tires, there is already a laundry list of things to consider, but when owning an electric vehicle, there are new items that you will need add to that list.

Requirements of tires for EVs

Anyone who drives an EV knows that they are virtually silent, have instant torque, and range is important. This means that you need your tires to be quiet since the lack of engine noise won’t cover up any road noise, they need to be durable enough to stand up to the instant torque and extra weight, and they need to help extend driving range instead of hindering it.  Is that asking too much?

According to an article from Wired, Michelin doesn’t think so. Michelin currently makes the Michelin Energy E-V tire which is advertised as a tire that was exclusively designed for electric vehicles. The tire is supposed to offer a 20% reduction in rolling resistance, for up to almost 4 more miles, and 40% less interior noise (these numbers are based on internal tests by Michelin and are compared to none EV tires). Many electric models use high-performance tires if they aren’t using EV specific ones. For example, Goodyear recommends various options that all highlight “sport performance” and a quiet ride.  In areas that experience cold winters, it is recommended that, for safety and reliability, you have winter tires.

How to increase EV tire longevity

As mentioned, electric vehicles weigh more (about 20-30% more than an ICE counterpart) and that with instant torque, tires will wear out much quicker. Some of the easiest ways to extend the life of your tires are just general good driving habits. You don’t want to accelerate quickly when you don’t have to, reduce the number of sharp turns you make, and use your regenerative breaking to your benefit. It’s also important to keep your tires at the right tire pressure and get them aligned regularly. Finally, you’ll want to be extra cautious about punctures and rubbing against curbs. This is because of the pressure on the tires caused by the extra weight.

Source: Nissan LEAF at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (https://inhabitat.com)

Expect to pay more

Since EVs have specific tire requirements to ensure the best possible driving experience, they may be a bit different than tires you purchased for your ICE vehicle. The tires are likely going to be a different (wider, narrower, or larger) in size and made up of different materials so that they offer a quiet ride that helps get the most range possible. This also means that they are probably going to be more expensive. When it comes time to replace your tires your best bet will be to replace them with the same type that came with the vehicle. That’s because those have been selected specifically for your EV. If you opt for less expensive tires, you might end up just having to replace them more often.

Conclusions

As EVs continue to evolve and become more popular, it only makes sense that tires specifically for electric vehicles will become more common and more affordable. The perfect tire will offer a quiet ride, have limited rolling resistance, and offer great handling. When it comes time to purchase new tires, taking some time to research your options will ensure you have a good driving experience and can also help save you money.

Please share your EV tire shopping experiences in the comment section below.

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  • Jean-François Morissette

    Goodyear is developing new tires especially built for EV: http://www.futurecar.com/article-2000-1.html

  • James D. Steil

    I have bought 5 used EVs. You might mention rotating your tires more frequently, as the drive wheels tend to wear out more quickly (unless the driver is making the effort to drive un-agressively, which doesn’t seem to be the case most of the time).