Tires are a part of the car that many people really try to save money on…maybe they buy part-worn, or they take a chance on a cheaper brand to save a bit of money.
But is this the best approach to take? And what if you have an EV…should you just throw on any old tyre you find lying around? Stay tuned for the details as we take a quick-fire look at Electric Vehicle Tires.
What is the difference?
So let’s go back to basics for a moment. What’s the difference between a combustion car and an EV when it comes to tyres?
Well, the first thing to look at is probably the weight of the vehicle. Although not always the case, it would be fair make the generalisation that EVs are heavier than their combustion counterparts. The predominant reason being the weight of the battery. So that can put extra stress on the tires for various reasons, but we’ll get around to that in a minute.
Another thing to mention is the strain from acceleration. As us EV drivers know and love…you get instant torque and acceleration. This can sometimes lead to a bit of…eh…friskiness with the accelerator, especially when taking off at traffic lights. Hyundai Kona drivers know all too well, and the amount of power available can see you lose traction if you plant your foot at 20 or 30pmh even!
Electric Vehicle Tyres
So what do we want from tires on our EVs? Well, of course you want safety. You want to be able to steer to avoid a collision or to brake quickly in an emergency. But that’s the same for every car, so what are the EV specifics?
Efficiency would have to be the main thing. Although we generally have a lot more range in our EVs than we will use on the vast majority of trips, we still like to know that it’s there. We like to look at our miles/kWh gauge and see some good efficiency. Tires are a huge part of that.
So what’s happening with tires that might prevent us getting good efficiency? Well, as the car moves along, the part of the tire close to the road deforms under the weight of the car. This is called hysteresis. It adds to the rolling resistance of the tires and…as you can imagine…badly affects your efficiency and range! So to get over that, tire manufacturers use materials and structures within the tire that give it the appropriate amount of rigidity. But there is a balance to be had. Of course, we all want efficiency, but not at the expense of grip in the event of needing to brake hard or swerve!
Another aspect when choosing tyres for our EVs is noise. An electric motor produces much less sound than its petrol or diesel equivalent. So the effects of wind noise and tire noise are more noticeable when in an EV. Tires for EVs can have different thread patterns that cut down on the acoustic effects. Some manufacturers even add a foam lining to the interior cavity of the tire to reduce noise levels.
Saving money…a false economy?
Now let’s look at it from a financial standpoint. Obviously, safety is always our first concern…but saving money is pretty important too!
If you opt for the wrong tires for your EV, or even drive on them at the wrong pressure, it can cause a lot of unnecessary wear. Tires for EVs are manufactured to be more rigid to cope with the right amount of weight. If you fit a tire that is carrying too much weight, it can begin to bulge and create a pillow shape effect. This can put added stress on the shoulder of the tire and cause it to wear faster.
Of course, this reduced efficiency will also affect how much energy you use and cost you more in electricity as you need to recharge that little bit more often!
So you have to weigh up the benefits of saving money on the upfront cost of tyres. Sure, you can get a really cheap, part-worn tire not made for an EV. But how much extra will you spend on electricity to charge if they’re not efficient? How many miles with you get out of that tire in its lifetime before premature wearing means replacing them? And if the tire provides less grip and roadholding…is it really worth the risk to your safety?
So there you have it folks…a quickfire guide to tires for EVs. We’d love to go into a lot more detail, but time is up. Maybe you’d like us to go into more detail on some aspect in a future video? Let us know in the comments!
Do you have an EV? And if so, what tires do you have fitted? When it comes to changing tires, will you buy a cheaper option or stick with the same brand or manufacturers recommendation?
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