Buying an electric vehicle is different from buying a normal gasoline car. You don’t have to worry about maintenance or stopping for gas, but you will have to keep an eye on the battery. And like any vehicle, your EV will eventually need new tires.
So do electric vehicles need special tires? As EVs continue to gain in popularity, not to mention exciting new electric trucks like the F-150 Lightning becoming available, it’s a question we’re seeing more and more. You’ve probably seen them advertised and wondered, “what is an EV tire?” The answer is yes, you’ll want to get EV-specific tires for your vehicle, and here’s what you need to know.
Do electric vehicles have special tires?
When you look at an electric vehicle, the wheels may look the same as the wheels on your car, but they are completely different. Electric vehicle tires tend to wear out faster due to the extra weight and extra torque hitting the road. In addition, tires for electric vehicles tend to have less tread to improve autonomy and reduce noise.
If you’ve ever purchased new tires, you may be familiar with load capacities. The load range indicates the heaviest load a specific tire can handle. The most common options in the US are charge range C, D and E for consumer vehicles.
However, there is a new tire load range called HL, which stands for “high load” capacity. These tires can handle a heavier load at the same tire pressure as traditional tires and are perfect for electric vehicles.
Over the past year, we’ve seen several new EV tires arrive from Michelin, Hankook, Pirelli, and even Goodyear launched a new line that promises a quieter ride. Those are just a few of many, and we look forward to more soon.
These tires promise to last longer, offer more comfort, improve performance or potentially increase range, and reduce road noise.
Electric vehicles weigh more
Electric vehicle tires must be able to support the additional weight. And while vehicles come in different sizes and weights, you’ll want the right tire for your EV car or truck.
Electric vehicles weigh more than typical gas guzzlers because the battery cells are hidden under the chassis. With a normal tire, all that extra weight would require more air pressure and more tread to prevent premature wear. Otherwise, you would need a large tire normally found on a Chevy Silverado for your Tesla or Hyundai IONIQ 5. And obviously, that’s not ideal.
So when it comes time to change the tires on your electric car, you’ll want to get a tire with an HL load rating. This will be especially important on electric trucks.
EV tires can handle all that torque
The next thing we want to mention is instantaneous torque and acceleration, two things every EV owner seems to love. Electric vehicles don’t have all the moving parts of a combustion engine and have instant torque on demand.
Here is a statement from Ian Coke, the CTO of Pirelli North America, when the company launched its new P Zero All Season EV tires.
“Developing a tire specifically for electric vehicles requires a number of considerations that are not found when working with internal combustion engines. Electric vehicles are heavier, have more powerful and quicker acceleration off the line and require less rolling resistance.”
Your EV will need a tire with better traction to grip road surfaces. With a regular tire that doesn’t have as much grip, it will burn and wear down all that rubber. The initial, instantaneous torque of an EV creates a lot of friction on the tires, and if you want to feel your head hit the back of the seat, you’ll want EV-rated tires.
Specific tires for electric vehicles help increase autonomy
Whether you drive a gas-guzzling car or an electric vehicle, your range or miles per gallon matters. Gas is expensive, the cost of electricity and Supercharger stations are rising, and no matter what you drive, you want the best performance possible.
Another thing you’ll want to consider when shopping for new tires for your EV is rolling resistance. Every new “EV tire” released in the last 12-18 months mentions the potential to increase range by handling the extra weight while also offering excellent rolling resistance.
When a tire spins, it causes friction with the road, and that resistance means the electric motors have to work harder to get up to speed. As a result, battery life and mileage may be affected. Worn or incorrect tires will change rolling resistance which will affect your driving range.
Goodyear’s latest electric vehicle tires have a new asymmetric tread pattern and specialized tread compound, which should reduce wear and resistance, giving users a better overall experience and more range. .
A quieter, more comfortable ride
And lastly, we should talk about road noise. As we all know, electric vehicles are almost silent. You don’t hear the roar of a V8 engine in your truck or that engine guzzling gas to keep your SUV or sedan cruising down the road.
Electric vehicles are silent, which means you will hear the hum of the tires and the noise of the road. It’s actually quite strange when you first experience it. Tesla even released a software feature that uses the interior speakers to try to block out or minimize sounds from the road, similar to noise-cancelling headphones.
EV tires are designed with road noise in mind. For example, the P Zero All Season Plus Elect claims to eliminate road noise with its Pirelli Noise Cancellation System (PNCS) and sound deadening material inside the tire. The Goodyear ElectricDrive GT line uses similar SoundComfort technology, and the Michelin EV tires have a special polyurethane foam that aims to reduce tire and road noise.
In the end, these tires should offer a quieter, more comfortable ride. Using a standard tire on your EV will likely make for a noisy driving experience.
When all these changes are put together, it becomes clear how challenging the task is for tire manufacturers. Electric vehicles need a tough tire to handle the extra weight, but with enough grip to deliver torque to the ground. All this while keeping rolling resistance and road noise to a minimum to improve driving range and comfort.
The maintenance will be almost the same as that of any normal tire. You’ll want to keep them inflated to the correct PSI, watch for cracks or uneven wear over time, rotate them often, and monitor tread depth, as EV tires can wear faster than typical wheels.
Then, when it’s time to replace the tires, do some research and choose something similar to what came with your EV. Don’t cheap out when it comes to EV tires.