Bridgestone Releases Details on the BMW i3 Tires

10 months ago by Eric Loveday 27

Standard And Optional Wheel Choices For The BMW i3 - All of the Wheel Options Are Fitted With Bridgestone Tires

Standard And Optional Wheel Choices For The BMW i3 – All of the Wheel Options Are Fitted With Bridgestone Tires

The tire obsessed geek within me says I should explain the tech behind the BMW i3′s skinny, large diameter tires.

BMW i3 Takes Its First "Hot Lap" on Sticky but Thin Bridgestone Tires

BMW i3 Takes Its First “Hot Lap” on Sticky but Thin Bridgestone Tires

The reason they’re sized as such is obvious: lower rolling resistance, less drag, improved aerodynamics and looks befitting the equally odd exterior appearance of the i3.

Bridgestone is the sole provider of rubber for the i3 and the tire supplier has several variants that fit BMW’s plug-in.

Bridgestone claims that some “ologic” technology “capitalizes on the synergies of a large diameter coupled with a narrow tread design.”  That’s typical marketing speak.  Ologic is just some silly word made up by the folks at Bridegstone.  Nobody outside of Bridgestone will ever care if their tires have “ologic” tech in them.

What we do care about is the availability of several tires that will fit the i3.  At some point in time, replacement i3 tires will be needed, so here’s what’ll be available:

Ecopia EP500 ologic tire is available in four sizes:

BMW i3 - Notice How Skinny Those Tires Are?

BMW i3 – Notice How Skinny Those Tires Are?

  • 155/70 R19 84Q
  • 175/60 R19 86Q
  • 155/60 R20 80Q
  • 175/55 R20 85Q

Additionally, two winter varieties are offered, though neither are made to fit the 20-inch wheels:

  • BLIZZAK LM-500 ologic [uni-directional studless] 
  • BLIZZAK NV ologic [studless tire]

None of the listed tires are of the run-flat variety, so pack a can of fix-a-flat in the trunk.

Those are your options.  We don’t expect anyone outside of Bridgestone to produce suitable replacement tires for the BMW i3 in the foreseeable future.

No other tire maker would produced these sizes unless more vehicles come equipped with them.  If the i3 remains the only vehicle to use these sizes, then Bridgestone will be your only choice for replacement tires.

 

Snow Tire for i3 Shown on Right

Snow Tire for i3 Shown on Right

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27 responses to "Bridgestone Releases Details on the BMW i3 Tires"

  1. Alaa says:

    They look to me as if they are for a motorcycle!

    1. MDEV says:

      My motorcycle use wider tires!!

  2. MTN Ranger says:

    If you think those are thin, check out the tires for the new VW XL1: front 115/80 R 15, rear 145/55 R 16.

  3. kdawg says:

    What happens if you put std. tires/wheels on an I3? (assuming they fit)

  4. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    Presumably the taller wheels allow for batteries to be located below the axles, which could bring the center of gravity below the axle line.. Neat..

    But bloody expensive to replace I assume :/

    1. kdawg says:

      The bottom of the battery pack seems to be above the center-point of the wheel in this pic. But hard to tell.

      1. sven says:

        But the suspension is at full extension in that pic, since the chassis is lifted off the ground and sitting on jack stands.

  5. Mikael says:

    I would like to know more about how they affect the performance of the car. The life span of the tires. More advantages and disadvantages.
    I read somewhere that these tires are cheap, but with a very limited production you would assume the other way around. Any truth to them being cheap?

    I know very little about tires and would love to be educated. =)

    I have relatives thinking about buying the i3 so I’m gathering information to help push them over the edge so anything that might be useful is appreciated. ;)

    1. Aaron says:

      One manufacturer making tires for one specific car. You think that’s going to be cheap? You’re probably looking at $400 per tire. No, I’m not kidding. That’s without the BMW dealership markup.

    2. Eric Loveday says:

      These tires will not be cheap. My source says at least $300 per and availability will be an issue. I suspect most all tire shops will have to order these (meaning they won’t be in stock). The only place you’ll find them in stock is at a BMW dealer and even there you’ll likely run into issues where only a couple are on hand.

      1. MDEV says:

        I guess you’ll find them in ToysRus :)

      2. George B says:

        Great report, thanks Eric. We had a discussion going about this on both the LEAF and the Tesla forum. Bridgestone made a promo video about it as well. It’s devoid of any material information, but hopefully fun to watch.

  6. KEVIN says:

    I would be concernd with 3 things,
    1 expensive very likely due to low volume, other cars use standar LRR tires (cheap)
    2 life span in miles ? my guess is poor tread life
    3 REX version uses a stagger setup so no tire rotations are possible= low expected tread life

  7. Mart Shearer says:

    Back to Ford Model A tires…

  8. kdawg says:

    Are the std. (non-snow) tires directional?

  9. lewl says:

    That picture showing the different wheel styles makes me wonder:
    Do the different designs of rims make a difference in aero, or is it strictly an aesthetics thing?

  10. I want them! :)

    The different rims will have varied aero drag. The two on the left are lower drag, probably. The flattest and smoothest with the smallest holes will be the best for range.

  11. Anon says:

    So, just like Gillette making replaceable razor blades (which is where they make their money), the BMW i3 is designed to sell lots of high cost proprietary tires, designed to need frequent replacement???

  12. Disappointed says:

    This tire will make you wish that you had not ordered an i3 with Rex or an i3 period. Why?
    When you blow out one of these tires outside of your 80 mile maximum distance from home, Nobody will have one in stock, probably including your BMW dealer. They will be $300 + dealer markup and installation, after you pay to be towed home.
    This tire, I suspect will have you cursing BMW for creating a platform that demanded this one of a kind tire made for a handful of i3 cars. Cheap never, availablity not a chance, tread life unknown, alternatives, none.

    1. Matt says:

      Puhleezz.. get over it buddy. Your doomsday scenario is way over-exagerated.
      These are Blizzaks, you’ll get them at Tire Rack.
      Most tires will not be in stock at your corner Jiffy Lube… unless maybe you’re driving a Chevy Impala from 1989.
      If you have a blow out, you use the can of sealant (which most cars come with anyway), and you drive to the nearest dealer. BMW includes roadside assistance anyway, so the tow to the dealer is free.
      You’re not going to pay any less than $250-$300 for a tire of ANY size for a “nice” car these days.
      So there is absolutely no difference, give or take ~$50, in your ‘blow out’ scenario.

  13. Boogety says:

    Two words or warning about the above:

    Honda (cough, cough) PAX (cough, cough)

    Another brave experiment in proprietary tires that will cause buyers to stick a Phillips screwdriver in their eye in frustration somewhere down the road

    Good luck fixing a flat/replacing a tire more than twenty miles or so from a dealer

    Good luck finding alternatives that fit/don’t cut mileage/don’t foul up ride

    Good luck… period.

  14. Nix says:

    This reminds me of BMW’s adventures with TRX tires in the 1980′s. Now the only tires you can find to fit TRX rims are from Coker, and they nail you for $500 bucks per tire. No other tires fit on the stock rim, so you either have to drop $2000 bucks every time you change tires, or buy new rims.

    But at least you have the option to buy new rims and tires that aren’t TRX, and they will still fit on the car. With these wheels and tires, I have no idea if there is anything else at all that would work on the car.

  15. ModernMarvelFan says:

    So, if I have a nail close to side wall 30K into my stock tires, I would have to shell out $700 for two of them (replace them in pairs)?

    Geez… Too much to pay for a “BMW”…

  16. Kevin says:

    Hopefully BMW will provide some type of road hazard coverage on the tires .
    It’s needed as it will be a sore spot with owners. It’s possible bridgestone will offer the platinum pact coverage on these , that covers punctures for the the 12 months or so regardless of cause.

    It comes on some Bridgestone products but knowledge of this coverage is limited so it’s rarely utilized.
    Even if we get that, these will likely have a short service life, be expensive , hard to get initially, and in the case of the Rex versions, have a pitiful tread life due to lack of ability to rotate.

  17. Old Billygoat says:

    I can’t see how to load a pic, but this should work.

    It looks like only the base 427 option on the non REx has 4 tires of the same size. Options 428, 429, & 430 look like they have different fronts and rears on both REx and non-REx

  18. AutoGuy says:

    Those are some very slim tires. In the winter season, I wonder how they will perform. Being narrow, I’m sure they will be able to cut through the snow pretty well.

    1. George B says:

      AutoGuy, first reports of real-word performance have emerged, and they are very encouraging: