Important Things Motorists Need to Know About EV Tires

For the average driver, switching from a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle to a battery electric vehicle (BEV) will be a big change. Since the vehicles are powered by rechargeable battery packs rather than internal combustion engines, battery electric vehicles produce zero carbon emissions at the tailpipe. However these carbon savings come at a cost: electric vehicles are so fundamentally different from regular cars that even the most experienced driver will have to go through a learning curve before they can efficiently operate their new EV.

Electric vehicle tires, for starters, are a different beast from the tires used by conventional vehicles. On average, EVs are around 750 pounds heavier than gas-powered cars. This extra weight puts all kinds of stress on their tires, and as a result, EV drivers have to take special care when choosing EV tires and taking care of them. Michelin technical communications director for passenger cars Russell Shepherd says the company’s internal studies indicate that consumers may not know how EV tires affect vehicle performance.

Speaking to Canary Media, he said that prospective EV buyers should ask plenty of questions about the standard tires used on any EV. The first thing they should be aware of is the fact that EVs are significantly heavier than regular cars due to their battery packs, adding around 20% weight onto the tires. This means that EV tires tend to have higher air pressure than conventional cars. Shepherd says new EV drivers should know the recommended tire pressure and make sure they check the pressure regularly.

New EV drivers should also know that EV tires affect the overall efficiency and range of their vehicles. Rolling resistance or the amount of energy tires consume as they rotate will have to become a familiar concept as higher rolling resistance leads to higher energy consumption and lower overall range. EV tires will use around 16% of the energy available, and Shepherd says different types of tires will impact EV range differently. Tire makers such as Goodyear and Michelin are working to develop EV tires with little rolling resistance without affecting durability and traction.

EV tires also tend to wear out faster because EVs usually put more torque load onto their wheels compared to their gas-powered counterparts. Electric vehicles are famous for having more torque and acceleration than even sports cars, but this puts a ton of strain onto the tires and causes them to wear out faster. EV drivers can deal with this by either choosing EV tires that wear out slowly or replacing their EV tires more frequently.

Manufacturers such as Lordstown Motors Corp. (NASDAQ: RIDE) have the task of educating EV buyers about the unique maintenance and care requirements of electric vehicle tires so that motorists aren’t frustrated when they notice recurring issues resulting from treating EV tires as they do ICE vehicle tires.

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