By Gary Ruede, Discount Tire, WTC Select Committee Member
When shopping for tires for your vehicles in the past, you always purchased tires that suited your needs and budget. Tire retailers would assist by identifying what type of driver you may be, and make recommendations based off your local area and driving environment.
Buyer needs can be classified in many ways: Daily Driver, Traveler, Enthusiast, and now EV Driver.
Daily Driver: Short commute, some highway, stop-and-go traffic, focus on tread life, balanced performance, dependability;.
Traveler: Longer work commute, frequent highways, longer lasting tires, reliability, city-to-city travel, ride share.
Enthusiast: Spirited drives, traction in all conditions, frequent twisty roads, high performance, weekend vehicle, track days.
The EV Driver has several needs in each of these areas. When attempting to self-classify or being classified by a retailer, it is always best to remember why you bought the car in the first place. Starting from here grounds your perspective and helps you make the right tire purchase.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR EV WHEN IT COMES TO TIRES.
- EV vehicles have 100% torque at 1mph, are heavier than normal vehicles, have a lower center of gravity, use low rolling resistance tires, typically use larger diameter tires with smaller widths, have lower operational noise.
- The torque, increased weight, and lower center of gravity all puts additional stress directly on the tire. These stresses result in increased tire wear.
- The lower rolling resistance and tire size are a direct result of a balance of performance, wet/dry braking, and wear achieved through physical dimensions and rubber compounding. These result in an acceptable level of traction, mileage, and wear.
UNDERSTANDING THE BALANCE
- If you ask the vehicle manufacturer what the best tire is, they will say, "The one that your vehicle came equipped with!" With electric vehicles, this saying has never been truer. However, if you want to improve on a specific aspect of performance of your vehicle, this is still possible – but at a cost.
- If you want better wet/dry traction and handling, you should expect a higher rolling resistance and lower tire and vehicle mileage.
- If you want better mileage, you should expect a decrease in wet/dry braking and performance.
- If you don't want to buy the original equipment tire, you can expect a variation of these issues. Even buying the same size and speed rating of tire from a different manufacturer can affect the rolling resistance resulting in lower mileage.
KEEPING IT SIMPLE
- Stay with the reasoning behind the vehicle you purchased and be true to that thought. Consider the trade-offs. You know what you had with the previous tire. If you were satisfied with it and the cost is within budget, purchase the same. If you did not, then consider the trade-offs to get what you're wanting out of the tire.
- The result is not different from choices you have made in the past but is more visible as the tire is playing a more crucial role in the overall performance of the vehicle. Remember, you are not paying for gas anymore, but will be purchasing tires more frequently.