Tire Rack, a well-known independent tire tester, has launched an educational video titled “Do you Really Need EV-Specific Tires?” on their YouTube Channel. The video is aimed at demystifying myths surrounding Electric Vehicle (EV) tires and helping consumers make informed decisions based on their unique driving needs.
While winter tire season is just around the corner in Canada, if your EV needs new summer shoes next spring, not only is this video timely but it also serves as a reminder that ordering next year’s tires now is a very good idea.
Understanding the Categories of EV Tires
EVs bring with them a series of questions about tire requirements. To provide clarity, Tire Rack classifies EV tires into four categories:
Original Equipment (OE) EV Tires: These are factory-fitted tires with a focus on EV range and efficiency. They often incorporate features like efficiency-focused compounds, sound-absorbing layers, and robust internal structures to accommodate the EV’s weight.
EV-Focused Tires: Designed primarily for EV applications, these tires are not bound by any specific auto manufacturer’s requirements. Instead, they’re crafted with general EV needs in mind.
Hybrid Design EV Tires: These are existing tire designs modified for EV use. Changes can include added foam, tread pattern adjustments, noise reduction enhancements, and more.
Conventional Tires: Not specifically designed for EVs but can be used if they meet the vehicle’s specifications.
Factors Impacting EV Tire Performance
Tire attributes, whether for EVs or Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles, generally revolve around traction, comfort, efficiency, and wear. However, certain factors can influence an EV tire’s efficiency:
Rolling Resistance: The force needed to keep the tire moving. Lower rolling resistance often implies better range. However, Tire Rack’s tests in January 2023 revealed that some replacement tires could reduce the calculated range by up to 11%, equivalent to 34 kilometres, though they might offer better performance under varying conditions.
Tire Wear: Worn-out tires have reduced mass and rolling resistance, theoretically increasing range. However, this comes at the cost of grip and performance.
Weather Impact: Rain, temperature fluctuations, and road conditions can significantly impact range. For instance, testing showcased a drop of about 43 kilometres in range when comparing results between 2.2°C and 16.1°C.
Moreover, drivers’ habits also play a role. Aggressive driving actions can increase tire wear and decrease the vehicle’s range.
EV Tires: Wear and Tear Insights
Contrary to popular belief, EV tires don’t inherently wear out faster. The increased wear rate observed in EVs stems from factors like the vehicle’s weight and its ability to deliver instant torque. Industry figures suggest tires on EVs might have a 20% reduced wear life compared to those on ICE vehicles.