EV owners face challenges when it comes to new tires

Electric vehicles are slowly but surely gaining ground in the market and on the road but after they get through their first set of tires, many of their owners will have an interesting dilemma. The industry is not only struggling to make enough EV-specific tires but owners will have to decide on a number of important design features.

A new report from Autonnews Canada sheds light on the situation. Most electric vehicles made today come with very specific tires made by a particular brand. Tesla cars, for example, often come with special Michelin tires that feature “acoustic tech”.

It’s a fancy name for foam that sticks to the inside of the tire. Although independent reports seem to indicate the tremendous noise loss of these tires, almost every owner of the Tesla I worked with while running my wheel and tire shop wanted to return with exactly the same type of car that was originally the car.

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Of course, a complete set of these tires costs at least 1,000 or more. Buyers of low-cost IVs, such as the Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, or Hyundai Kona, may not be so keen on dropping four figures on four tires. And that’s where the problem lies. Very few aftermarket EV-specific tires exist so buyers get a bit stuck when they want this type of product.

Of course, the concept of an EV-specific tire is an interesting one. In addition to trying to cool the tire itself, these EV-specific designs are meant to reduce rolling resistance which in itself helps increase or maintain a manufacturer’s claimed range. Of course, exceptional grip and low rolling resistance are somewhat antithetical features.

EV owners who want to grip more than low-rolling-resistance tires from their vehicles will have to leave some range to improve their grip. Keep in mind that mileage ratings will play a role in a buyer’s decision about a new tire and, again, that mileage rating will affect both the grip and rolling resistance of the tire.

Fortunately, various tire manufacturers are now in the process of doing what they can to meet the growing demand. The same report mentions the manufacture of various types of tires that can be made and fitted to models from Pirelli, Bridgestone, Goodyear, Michelin and many more.

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