Tires are tires. Right? Not so. Modern day tires have a lot of technology built into them. They use different rubber compounds, they have different interior constructions, and they’re designed for specific types of vehicles and purposes. So it’s not surprising then that electric vehicles use different types of tires than gasoline-powered vehicles.
It is possible to mount a tire for a gasoline-powered car to go onto the wheels of an EV. But this will lead to increased wear, heat-related issues, and traction issues. EV tires are designed for the unique demands of the instant torque form the electric motors, increased weight, reduced powertrain noises and lower rolling resistance.
If you’ve ever driven an electric car, then you probably know the satisfaction of the instant acceleration. This is something that no internal combustion engine can replicate. The instant torque from the electric motors is a big shock to the tires. If the tires don’t have enough grip, then they’ll always spin when faced with the instant power. But there needs to be a balance between grip and rolling resistance.
Low Rolling Resistance
The driving range of electric vehicles is always the first thing in a consumer’s mind. To get the most range out of a battery charge, EV tires are designed to have low rolling resistance against the road. But it can’t be too little as it would not provide enough grip to deliver the power. It’s a fine balance between rolling resistance and grip.
One area where EV tires greatly differ from gasoline-powered vehicles is the load that they’re rated for. Electric vehicles are significantly heavier than their gasoline counterparts. Though this will change over time as lighter batteries will be invented, for the time being EV tires need to cope with the extra heft of current battery packs. As such, EV tires have a different internal construction to normal tires. The carcass and steel bands of an EV tire have to not only handle the extra static weight of an EV but also the dynamic loads when the vehicle is accelerating, cornering, and braking.
In the absence of an engine, the only noise that you will hear in the cabin of your EV will be tire noise. For this reason, electric vehicle tires are designed to reduce the noise they emit while driving. These special tires utilize a unique tread pattern that reduces noise without compromising grip and efficiency. Some EV tires also use unique rubber compounds and sound-absorbing foam to further reduce noise.
Cost of EV Tires
Yes, EV tires are typically 20% to 30% more expensive than tires designed for a gasoline-powered vehicle. But this shouldn’t deter you from purchasing the correct tires for your electric vehicle. In the long run, getting EV specific tires for your EV will not cost you as much as purchasing regular gas-only rated tires for your EV. Additionally, an EV tire’s cost is determined by the EV model. For example, a Hyundai Kona EV tire will be less expensive than a tire that is designed for the Mercedes-Benz EQS.
If you are considering making the switch to an EV or already have one, do not take the shortcut when it comes to tires. You may be saving a bit of money in purchasing tires that were designed for gasoline vehicles but they’ll wear out more quickly, they’ll be louder on highways, and could potentially be dangerous as they may not be able to cope with the extra weight of EVs. If you’re unsure of which tries to get, our knowledgeable parts staff at any one of our OpenRoad locations are happy to help you choose the right set of tires for your EV.