When it comes to electric vehicles (EVs) choosing the correct tyres is important when the originals need to be replaced. Increasingly, the tyres fitted are specifically designed for use on electric cars and can be significantly different to the tyres motorists are familiar with on internal combustion engine vehicles (ICE).
TyreSafe, who are a UK charity dedicated to offering advice on correct tyre choice, are warning electric car owners that fitting the wrong type of tyre could result in loss of range, added noise from the road, accelerated wear and the risk of failing while being driven, which could result in a serious incident.
There are a wide range of factors that are important when it comes to choosing the right tyre. The original vehicle manufacturer will have already taken these into account when fitting the originals at the factory.
1. Tyre Pressure
The vehicle’s weight is one factor because it influences the amount of air pressure required to keep a tyre in its optimal shape. This also affects the stiffness of the tyre’s sidewall and even its centre section.
Electric vehicles are heavier than their petrol or diesel equivalents, so owners need be aware of their tyre’s load rating when a replacement is needed. Plus, it’s important to maintain the recommended tyre pressure at all times.
2. Rolling Resistance
Rolling resistance is another consideration that can impact tyre choice and affect the range of an electric car. The tyre should have the least rolling resistance as possible, however, a balance needs to be struck because grip is essential for safety when it comes to braking.
Minimising rolling resistance while providing adequate grip seems like a contradictory requirement but this is a key performance characteristic for electric vehicles to ensure maximum range.
The tyre also needs to be robust because electric cars produce maximum power from standing. This places high demands on the rubber compound.
There needs to be right balance of components that make up the tyre, while having the appropriate tread pattern to provide a lifespan comparable with petrol or diesel vehicles.
The amount of noise the tyre produces as it travels over a road surface is another example of the possible adaptation that could make tyres for electric cars different to combustion engine vehicles.
With electric vehicle motors producing little noise, the quiet cabin environment is one of the big attractions of these cars, which could easily be ruined by the wrong choice of tyre.
Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe, Chair, said: “Tyres are an extremely sophisticated piece of technology, which we all too commonly taken for granted. However, drivers of electric vehicles must be aware of how different they could be compared to those found on other cars.
“When it’s time to replace the original tyres, owners need to ensure they are buying the right specification. Choosing a like-for-like tyre will allow EV owners to enjoy the full benefit of the electric car revolution and reduce the risks of an incident.”
Full details and explanations of the differences between tyres for EVs and combustion-engined cars can be found at tyresafe.org in the ‘About Tyres’ section.