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Electric Car Tires — Learn All About Them With Engineering Explained

EV tires are full of strange mysteries. Tires are tires, and some believe that EVs don’t need anything special. Tire shops may also refuse to sell EV tires, thinking they don’t know what they’re doing because they’re so different. I’ve read a fair amount on this topic, and there’s a lot of internet lore, but the truth about this topic could use a nice and straightforward presentation. Jason from “Engineering Explained” does this every week, and this time he talked about EV tires.

From the beginning, he explains why tires matter for EVs, but not for gasoline vehicles.

  • extra weight
  • Need for efficiency (to get range)
  • How quiet is it compared to ICE
  • Sudden high torque, slow EV hurts the tires even more.

So, in less than half an hour, you’ll know that the “tyre is a tire” theory isn’t where it is today. EV tires must handle weight and torque, extend vehicle range, and keep people in the car from making too much noise. And doing all of this at the same time while still providing the necessary safety and performance isn’t always easy.

In typical fashion, Jason goes into detail about each of these aspects of tire engineering and makes it all easy to understand.

weight

As you know, EVs tend to be heavier than similar gasoline vehicles. It doesn’t always make a big difference, but on average it does. No matter how you design your car or how you structure your pack, your battery cells need weight. My Bolt EUV’s battery pack weighs 1,000 pounds, with heavier vehicles available for more power and range.

A simple solution is to make the tires wider. This distributes the extra weight over a larger area. But then you end up with a wider tire fighting the air (less aerodynamic efficiency). This also adds rolling resistance and other range-robbing issues. In addition, tires wear him 20% faster. pain!

Instead of making the tire bigger to distribute the weight over a wider area, tire manufacturers make the tire stiffer so it can carry more weight. This makes the tires less squishy and sloppy, resulting in better handling and steering response.

But what about comfort? This usually makes the car rough and uncomfortable, but the extra weight of the EV and the stiffness of the tires balance it out for a comfortable ride. So it all works out in the end. It’s all about matching the vehicle you’re installing the tires on.

Electric vehicle tire efficiency

Tires have many important roles. They keep you from slipping and sliding all over the road, but nobody wants that. So how do tire manufacturers give you the grip you need without dragging you down or reducing your range?

It all comes down to what rubber material the tire is made of. These are marketed as “low rolling resistance” tires, but tire companies want a competitive edge, so they don’t want to tell you what their secret sauce is for making them. He said the biggest challenge was getting the tire to cure evenly in the process.

How electric vehicle tires reduce noise

New electric car tires on a Tesla Model 3. Photo by Zach Shahan | CleanTechnica.

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Tesla Model 3 new electric car tires. Photo by Zach Shahan | Clean Technica.

This is an area where EV will wage an unfair battle. Because the motor and electronics are relatively quiet, the occupants of the vehicle hear more tire noise. So something has to be done about it to make the car comfortable.

If you’ve ever bought a Tesla tire, you may have seen foam inside some tires. This helps reduce tire noise by getting between the rubber and metal wheels, and cuts the sound a bit.

Another important thing for quiet tires is the tread pattern. Most high-performance off-road tires tend to be very loud, so it’s not hard to see that other tread designs can do the opposite. This video details how small shape differences can lead to big sound differences. Unless you look closely at the tires, a lot of work is done with just different sized tread blocks (not really the same size so you don’t get into rhythm).

Electric car torque tears tires

Every sudden torque that an electric car produces puts a strain on the tires. So tire manufacturers have to do something to improve the situation. EV tires are secondary, as they are also related to vehicle weight.

Again, it comes down to stiffness. To improve grip and prevent immediate destruction, tire manufacturers must ensure that the weight and high speed rotation do not deform the tire in order to withstand any chance.

this is an emerging field

What he didn’t touch on in the video is how EV tire design has evolved. Before EVs, the most efficient cars were often lighter, less powerful, and easier to work with tires. But the extra weight and performance of his EV today is upending all that.

The 2022 tires should not be considered the final say on this matter. Not only are tires getting better for EVs, but EVs are changing. On top of that, there are new technologies like airless tires that could turn everything upside down again, opening up new design options and allowing people to spend more on tread.

For now, though, don’t get too hung up on getting the perfect EV tire. It’s all about getting tires that have the features your vehicle needs.

Featured image: Screenshot from Engineering Explained.

 

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