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The car world is full of misconceptions, and probably one of the biggest is the length of time tires on electric cars last. Many are under the illusion that the tires on an electric car don’t last as long as they do on regular vehicles.
However, we can confirm that’s not the case; it turns out that in like-for-like comparisons, electric cars with two-wheel drive systems can reduce tire mileage by about a quarter, and in the case of those with a four-wheel-drive system, tires actually last 10% longer than regular tires.
ICE Tires Weigh More
And you can see why some people might think that tires on electric cars don’t last longer than those on regular cars.
The most apparent reason is that electric cars often (but not always) weigh more than their ICE counterparts. So by default, there is more downward weight, which is bound to equal more wear and tear on the tires, so they don’t last as long.
Why Will EV Tires Last Longer?
To get a better understanding of what we mean by; ‘do the tires on electric cars last longer, we need to define what we mean by longer? So let’s start by considering how long the average set of tires is likely to last under usual driving conditions?
Well, according to both AA and the RAC, under normal driving conditions, you should get a minimum of 20,000 miles out of the front set of tires on a front-wheel-drive car, and for rear tires, it can be double that to around 40,000 miles.
However, having said that, there are a whole of things that can impact how long a set of tires are likely to last, and these include;
- The vehicle weight – the heavier the car, the more likely the tires will wear out faster. Likewise, continually carrying excess weight will cause faster tire wear.
- Poor driving style – frequently aggressive cornering and hard braking increase the wear.
- Tire position – The driven wheels wear considerably faster.
- Speed – constant high-speed driving increases temperature and wear.
- Tire pressure – Over or under-inflated tires will wear out quicker.
- Misalignment – Tires will wear quickly and unevenly if wheel alignment’s not set up correctly.
Why Are EV Tires Unique?
As we touched on earlier, the most significant difference between electric cars when compared to everyday cars is weight. While emissions can be lowered through an electric car, there is more wear on electric car tires because of the requirement for a larger, heavier battery.
The increased load pressure means that if you fit standard tires on an electric car, they simply won’t last as long or stand up to the punishment of being driven on the road demands.
What Happens If You Fit Standard Tires To An Electric Car?
You need to consider two key issues if you decide to fit standard car tires on electric cars. These include the noise levels, which come in two forms; road noise & lack of surround sound and the long-term running costs.
When fitted on electric vehicles, standard tires find it harder to cope with the additional weight and instant torque (resulting in the application of increased pressure). It also makes them louder when being driven on the road. As a result, of the increase in noise, the surrounding sounds outside the vehicle are harder to distinguish.
Not being able to hear what’s happening around you when you’re driving can negatively affect you. For example, if you can’t hear noises such as sirens from emergency service vehicles, you could be a threat to other road users.
Due to the extra weight carried by an electric car, conventional tires won’t be able to handle their torque and, therefore, won’t last as long. In fact, some studies suggest there’s every chance that standard tires are likely to wear out 30% quicker than those designed for electric cars.
So while standard car tires might in the short term be cheaper than those typically fitted to electric vehicles, they will need to be replaced more often and will cost you more money in the long run.
Why Are EV Tires More Expensive Than Standard Tires?
There are many reasons why tires for electric cars are more expensive than standard car tires, and it starts with the investment required to create tires that will stand up to the demands of an electric vehicle.
To create tires that will fulfil the demands of electric cars; additional weight and instant torque. Manufacturers’ engineers take a considerable amount of time to research and develop these specific tires and consider something like 200 different variables.
They look at every aspect of the tire, including;
- The rubber compound
- The construction
- The tread design
- The width of the grove
As a result of this, extensive and continuous research and development of tires for electric cars do have a negligibly more expensive price tag than traditional tires. But while they may be more costly than your average tire, they are a worthwhile investment as;
Electric vehicle tires are vastly more enduring than conventional ones. Electric car tires are manufactured specifically to defy the additional vehicle weight and absorb the strain, unlike conventional tires, thanks to the detailed sidewall and tire tread design.
Little Or No Road Noise
Because electric vehicles don’t run on the traditional internal combustion engine format, which can be considerably noisy at the best of times, they remain remarkably quiet when being driven. This is further helped because the tires for an electric vehicle have been designed to meet the weight of electric cars, resulting in vastly less road noise when they meet the road surface.
Improved Surround Sound
Thanks to the fact that electric cars run on a battery and are fitted with incredibly quiet tires. Traffic and surrounding sounds from outside the vehicle, such as those emitted from emergency vehicles, can easily be heard. Being more aware of what’s going on helps drivers remain more attentive and knowledgeable while on the roads.
How To Get The Best Out Of Electric Car Tires
When it comes to getting the best out of the tires on electric cars, there are several things you can do to increase their lifespan, including:
Monitor Tire Wear
Electric car tires will wear just the same as conventional ones, so you must check them regularly. It’s illegal to have a tread depth of less than 1.6mm, regardless of the type of tires fitted. You should also keep an eye out for cuts, cracks or curb damage and replace them when required.
Ensure the Tire Pressure Is Correct
To get the best out of your electric car tires and to make sure that they last as long as possible, your tires must be properly inflated. Over or under-inflated tires will wear out quickly, so always check the tire pressure is correct.
Check For Proper Wheel Balancing
As this will help ensure your tires wear evenly. Having the wheels properly balanced means the vehicle weight will be distributed evenly over all four of your electric car tires.
Make Sure They Are Aligned Appropriately
A correct wheel alignment will improve tire performance and tire wear and help the vehicle handling and maneuverability. It can also affect the vehicle’s steering response, so make sure they are correctly aligned to get the most from your tires.
Rotate Your Tires
As we mentioned earlier, the driven tires tend to wear out quicker, so if the car is a front-wheel drive, you may find that the wheels at the front will wear out faster than the ones at the back. Switch the front and back wheels around to save money and buy you some more time.