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Do electric cars need special tyres?

Tips and advice for Auto

Discover everything you need to know on tyres for electric cars, how they are different to those fitted on a standard vehicle, and how the right tyres contribute to range, energy consumption and the overall driving experience.

Why do electric car tyres and standard tyres need to be different?

Electric cars are weighed down by their batteries, so they need tyres which can carry extra weight. While the battery of an electric car stores the energy, it’s the electric motor that provides the instant torque (and no sound inside the car!). With an electric vehicle, as soon as you press the accelerator, you are immediately at 100% of the vehicle’s power. This means the weight transfers are sharper, a lot more intense than with a combustion-powered vehicle. This also affects the impact on wear and tear of the tyres.

Michelin designs the electric car tyres differently to take this into account, mostly in the structure of the tyres and its materials.

The second factor that requires electric car tyres to differ from standard tyres is noise. But an electric car is silent, right? Without the noise of a combustion engine, the sound of the tyres on the road surface is much more noticeable in an electric car. So, manufacturers have to create tyres that are far quieter. Thus, perceived interior noise is reduced. Here’s an example: in an orchestra, when you have a drum and a flute playing at the same time you mostly hear the drum. But when the drum stops, the sound of the flute appears more clearly. The same happens when switching to an electric vehicle: the thermal engine which generates most of the noise disappears, and tyres road noise is more apparent.

For this reason, the MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV (Electric Vehicle) tyres are equipped with innovative Michelin Acoustic technology which reduces the perceived noise level by 20%.(1)

The third factor specific to electric cars is the battery range and the risk of breakdown, especially on long trips. Through rolling resistance, tyres contribute to electric consumption, though battery range. The MICHELIN e·Primacy tyres is encouraging the transition to electric mobility. Its rolling resistance performance in the premium replacement tyres market improves an EV’s energy efficiency, thereby increasing its range by an estimated 7% or around 30 km for a vehicle with a range of 400 km. vs other tyres of its category (2)(3)

How do electric car tyres improve battery range?

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Fitting your car with electric car tyres ensures you get optimal battery range.

How do tyres improve range? Keep in mind that to move an object, you need to give it energy. And between the energy it receives and the energy it gives back in the form of displacement, there is always a loss because the object rubs on the ground. This is called rolling resistance.

One of the objectives of tyres manufacturers is to limit this energy loss in order to optimize energy efficiency and reduce unnecessary energy consumption. And, when it comes to electric vehicles, the more energy is optimized, the more range the vehicle has to play with!

When choosing your tyres, you can check on the tyres labelling to get the lowest rolling resistance and benefit from its performance to drive for longer with one charging.

Do electric vehicles cause more wear and tear to tyres?

The biggest factor for electric cars, when compared to normal cars, is the dynamic load transfers and braking torque linked to this specific kind of engine. This is a challenge for manufacturers because the mass and the torque increase require tyres with more lateral rigidity (cornering stiffness), to maintain the handling sensation at an important level, a strong grip to allow acceleration, and a good longevity to resist wear mile after mile as well.

Battery weight is an important issue for electric sports cars. If you have a powerful electric motor, you need to have a strong battery, and this results in weight. 400kg is the average weight for a battery in an electric sports car.

Today car makers propose two kinds of electric vehicles:

  • Regular vehicles retrofitted to become electric
  • Brand new platform

In the case of regular vehicle retrofitted, usually tyres size does not change much compared to ICE (Internal Combustion Engine). Thus, wear may happen faster than ICE.

For brand new platform, mass and torque are considered from the beginning, tyres size is adjusted and usually quite bigger than equivalent ICE. Wear will be similar to ICE.

Why are there different tyre options for electric vehicles?

It’s crucial to have the right tyres for an electric car, depending on its type. A tyres needs to respond to different driving demands. A driver of a sports car wants fast accelerations, great torque transmission and high precision at the steering wheel. A driver of a sedan is more looking for safety and driving comfort.

Michelin has created two ranges of specific tyres for electric carsMICHELIN Pilot Sport EV and MICHELIN e·Primacy. Each range offers different performance balances depending on what you are looking for.

How do I prolong the life of my electric car tyres?

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As for any other tyres, there are two main ways you can protect your electric car tyres and thereby optimize their lifetime: maintenance and driving style.

Electric tyres maintenance involves monitoring the pressure, alignment and wear. This type of tyres tends to wear on the inside edge of the electric car wheel, so this should be checked regularly. The pressure should also be adapted depending on the load being carried. But how to find out the ideal tyres pressure? It’s simple! Cars get a sticker from the manufacturer which indicates the recommended pressure for specific sizes of car tyres. There are also recommendations according to whether the car is loaded or not.

Eco-driving is an expression we hear more and more these days, and with good reason. With the objective of reducing energy consumption, the right driving style not only maximizes the range of an electric vehicle, it also optimizes tyres quality and performance.

In summary, driving style is particularly important. Use moderate acceleration and gentle, regenerative braking. Take corners carefully. That’s the best way to extend the battery range, and the longevity of your electric car tyres.

In conclusion, while it’s always a good idea to fit your electric car with tyres that are specially made for it, remember our non-electric specific offers are also very efficient for electric vehicles! Ultimately, we’re sure you’ll find the right tyres that fits your car and driving style with the help of your dealer and MICHELIN tyre selector.


(1) Internal noise measurement, done in 2016 on size 245/45 R19 on KIA Cadenza. Noise level measured in the range "170-230Hz". Results may vary according to vehicle, tyres range and size, speed and road conditions.



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