Whether from normal wear and tear, a slow leak, or sudden puncture, all tires eventually need replacing. What replacement tires you buy is an important decision for any car, but it’s so much more so for electric vehicles. Where the rubber meets the road has a huge impact on an EV’s performance, particularly its range. The next tire you buy could kill your range if you’re not careful.
Recently, tire manufacturers have begun marketing EV-specific tires. Usually these are special versions of a brand’s normal tire, tweaked to provide lower rolling resistance. As far as we know, though, only Sailun with its Erange EV tires has created an entire brand just for electric vehicle tires. These tires are designed specifically for EVs, which are heavier, more powerful, and quieter than cars powered by internal combustion engines.
So how does an EV-specific tire differ from a normal tire to meet the special needs of electric vehicles? We’re going to answer that and the rest of your questions about EV tires.
Do EVs need special tires?
Absolutely, yes. If you replace the tires on an electric vehicle with standard ones made for any ordinary car, you will see a big drop in range. That’s because EV tires are designed with efficiency in mind. In particular, they offer lower rolling resistance than normal tires, which means they create less friction when rolling over the ground. With less friction, an EV uses less power to keep itself moving. By using less power, it achieves better range.
There are a lot of factors that affect rolling resistance – things like the air pressure, diameter, and width of a tire, as well as tread design. One of the biggest, though, is the actual rubber itself, or what’s known as the rubber compound. Tire rubber can have all sorts of characteristics; some compounds create more grip, some wear less over time, and some are better on wet surfaces.
Sailun’s Erange EV tires, for instance, use a special proprietary rubber compound process known as EcoPoint3 that creates lower rolling resistance and improves overall tire life while also generating great grip. Independent testing has shown these EV-specific tires require 10 fewer feet to brake from 50 miles per hour than standard OEM tires. At the same time, they generate lower rolling resistance and require fewer watt-hours per mile to travel on. This proves that efficiency and performance can coexist if you’ve got the right tire compound technology.
Do EV tires cost more?
EV-specific tires do cost a little more to buy than comparable standard tires, at least for now.
We shopped around for replacement tires for a 2021 Tesla Model 3 Long Range with 18-inch wheels. The Kelly Edge HP tire starts at $187 per tire. Then there’s the Goodyear Eagle Touring and Goodyear WinterCommand Ultra at $166 and $263, respectively. The company’s EV-specific tire, called the Goodyear ElectricDrive GT, starts at $273.
We expect the cost of EV-specific tires will begin to fall, though, as EVs become more popular. Sailun, for instance, which hasn’t released exact pricing for its Erange EV brand of tires, has said they will cost less than leading OEM tires. According to Sailun, the goal of Erange is to give all drivers a fairly priced EV tire option that not only helps improve range and performance, but is also easily attainable to meet your budget.
Do EV tires wear faster?
Typically yes, but not always. Electric vehicles are significantly heavier than gas-powered cars because their battery packs weigh so much. That extra weight puts more pressure on the tires, leading to faster wear. Electric motors are also often more powerful than gas engines too, while at the same time being able to deliver instant torque. If you’re often flooring the accelerator in your EV, your tires will wear that much faster due to the huge and instantaneous load they’re handling.
Fortunately, advancements have come along to cure these ills. Sailun uses EcoPoint3 technology, which is an advanced manufacturing process of Liquid Phase Mixing that not only reduces rolling resistance, but also matches or exceeds the wear resistance of many leading tire brands.
Are EV tires louder?
With their near-silent propulsion, EVs have unmasked every car noise that used to be hidden by an engine’s roar. Tire noise is one of them, and if an EV’s tire tread isn’t designed just right, you’ll hear it.
Erange EV tires, though, use Sailun’s proven ‘SilentTread™’ technology with a variable pitch sequence for a quiet ride backed by proven lab and road testing. With Erange tires, the only noise you hear will be wind through your open window.
Do EV tires require different air pressure?
It’s not that EV tires require more or less air pressure than standard tires, it’s that EV efficiency is more sensitive to changes in air tire pressure. The reason is, again, that EVs are significantly heavier than gas-powered cars.
Because an underinflated tire is less stiff and deforms, tires mounted on a heavy EV will deform more than on a gas-powered car with the same amount of pressure loss. So it’s very important that EV owners check their tire pressure often and refill them as required to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI.
Gallery: Sailun eRange Tires On A Tesla
Do larger wheels affect EV range?
Yes. In general, larger wheels reduce overall efficiency and thereby lower an EV’s maximum range. You can see this on most EV manufacturer websites when configuring a vehicle; choose a larger wheel option and the manufacturer’s estimated maximum range will fall.
The reason larger wheels reduce range is because they take more energy to get into motion, and starting from a stop is one of the most energy-intensive things an EV does (and does a lot).
Where can I buy EV tires?
Buying the current crop of EV-specific tires is fairly easy. Most major tire manufacturers sell them now and they’re available everywhere you find standard tires sold.
Sailun’s Erange EV tires are hitting stores soon. You can sign up to receive updates on their availability at erangetires.com.