Tyres are one of the things we get asked about most by readers. Although most people regard buying tyres in the same way they might look at going to the dentist, get the right tyres and it won’t just save you money. It could make driving safer too.
Why do EVs need different tyres?
Electric cars are heavier than equivalent combustion engine models because of the added weight of their batteries. In terms of tyres this means a handful of factors.
They wear their tyres out more quickly and it takes them longer to stop if they’re braking heavily. In addition, EVs produce more torque – the thing that drives cars forwards – than equivalent combustion engine cars. This is another reason why they wear their tyres out more quickly.
EVs don’t have engines either. This makes them quieter inside and means that noise from outside, such as tyres on tarmac, is amplified.
Last but probably not least, battery range is a very important consideration for EV drivers. Special tyres for them are designed to have low rolling resistance. This means they create less friction against the road surface. This results in them needing less energy to turn and thereby increases the car’s range.
How do electric car tyres differ?
When tyre makers develop tyres for electric vehicles (EVs) they make them out of specially designed ingredients (called compounds). This ensures they are more durable and perform better when they need to.
Tyre maker Continental believes that the special tyres it makes for EVs can make up for the extra weight and reduce braking distances to the same as a ‘regular’ car.
In addition to lasting longer and stopping more smartly, EV tyres also have tread patterns that make them quieter on the road.
Bridgestone even makes special tyres for the electric Volkswagen ID 3 that weigh less than regular tyres. This is to compensate for the extra weight of EV batteries.
Are electric car tyres more expensive?
Tyres for EVs do tend to be more expensive. They often have more exotic ingredients than regular tyres and more science has gone into designing and building them. In addition, at the moment, tyre makers don’t sell as many of them. This means they don’t reap the manufacturing economies that helps to make regular tyres cheaper.
But will they save you money?
The old adage of buy cheap, buy twice is often true and particularly so in this case. Put ordinary tyres on an EV and you might be surprised at how quickly they wear out. Although special EV tyres might be more expensive, if they last longer – and some makers claim they will last a third longer than regular tyres would on an EV – they will save you money.
On top of that, if you get more miles after every time you charge your EV, it’s saving you on fuel too. Special EV tyres might be more expensive but we think not fitting them is a false economy.
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.