Tire Rack recently tackled a big question that's often asked by electric car drivers. That question is "Do you really need EV-specific tires?" Let's dive right in to find out if there's a definitive answer to this burning question.
First off, we'll note that Tire Rack recently added a Tesla Model 3 to its tire-testing fleet and this has allowed the seller of tires to perform a lot of real-world tests of various tires on the Model 3. Tire Rack says it learned a lot "during nearly a year of wet, dry, and winter testing" on the Model 3. More tests are scheduled, but for now, Tire Rack says it has gained enough knowledge to present some key findings.
Tire Rack presents three key questions regarding electric cars and tires.
1 – Do EVs really need special tires?
The answer to this question, according to Tire Rack, is both "yes" and "no." It depends on what you expect from your EV. Do you want to maximize its range? If so, then an EV-specific tire will be the way to go.
Additionally, some EV-specific tires come equipped with special sound-dampening abilities, usually in the form of a sound-absorbing foam. This helps minimize tire noise to ensure that the cabin of the electric car remains as quiet as possible.
If maximizing range and minimizing sound isn't important to you, then a standard tire will suffice.
2 – So EV range and efficiency is No. 1. How do tires impact these qualities?
It's really all about rolling resistance here. Most EV-specific tires have low-rolling resistance and thus will enhance the efficiency and range of your electric car.
Interestingly, Tire Rack found that worn tires increase range quite substantially. However, those same worn tires aren't as safe and don't perform as well.
3 – Do EV tires wear out faster than non-EV tires?
Once again, the answer here is both "yes" and "no" but mostly "yes." As Tire Rack explains:
Tires on EVs tend to wear out more quickly than when installed on a comparable ICE vehicle. So it’s not that EV tires wear faster but rather that tires wear faster when installed on an EV. The commonly quoted figure in the tire industry is 20 percent less wear life with an EV vs. an ICE vehicle.
Typically, the tires fitted on EVs will experience a 20 percent decrease in wear life and this is mostly due to the added weight of EVs. Instant torque is to blame as well on some high-performance EVs.
For more info on EVs and tires, check out the video above. It goes into deeper detail on each of the three questions and is a very informative clip that's definitely worth a watch.