The Best Tires for Your EV Have 4 Unique Challenges

Dan Smith

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Electric vehicles need different tires for four reasons:

  • EV can weigh It's 1000 pounds more and the tires have to carry it, but the tread wears well and doesn't collapse when cornering.
  • EVs torque their tires. The Hummer EV accelerates as fast as the Ferrari Roma, 2 whatever you are driving now. Even the Chevy Bolt has the same torque as the late model V6 Mustang.
  • EV is wrapped up in us range Therefore, tires should use a low rolling resistance design to increase cruising range.
  • EVs are quietOnce the engine noise is gone, the tire noise starts to get pretty annoying. It should be minimal and comfortably adjusted.

This creates a triangle under tension that balances grip for performance, low rolling resistance for efficiency and excellent tread wear for value. You can balance them or decide which one is more important to you and stretch the equilateral triangle that way.

tire attribute triangle
Tires have three main attributes that need to be balanced. Usually you can't maximize all three at once.

Brian Cooley/CNET

Certain EV tires are relatively rippling right now, but those torrents are coming to remake tires in the biggest change since radial tires became popular in the 1970s. The latest example is Hankook's Ion EVO AS tire, which offers a 25% increase in lateral stiffness, interlocking sipes or tread cuts designed to make the tread conform to the road, and a tailored tread pattern that allows drone reduce the As with many new EV tires, there is also a thick band of sound absorbing material glued to the casing under the tread.

Hankook iON EVO AS tires

EV tires have a wealth of details, not all visible, that address the very different world of driving heavy, powerful and quiet electric vehicles.


Goodyear's Electric Drive tire has some of the same technology as Michelin's Pilot Sport EV Rubber and Pirelli's Elect Tire. However, Continental seems to be focusing more on tires that are suitable, but not exclusive, for EVs. There is an important point here. There is no need to equip the EV with special EV tires. Just fit quality tires with the right size, speed rating and load rating. Tesla Model 3 owners typically report that their cars are fitted with non-EV tires. However, EV tires can be upgraded in many ways when the original rubber is replaced, especially when it comes to noise control. Related to the rise of electric vehicles is the new high duty or HL tire load rating to accommodate the increased weight of vehicles with larger batteries.

tire load chart
Brian Cooley/CNET

HL tires can carry higher loads than their predecessors, the XL Heavy Duty tires, and can be used at the same or higher pressures which reduces rolling resistance and helps the tires maintain shape during dynamic driving. Lucid Air, for example, specs his HL-rated Pirelli P Zeros as OEM tires. Further down the road, EVs like Goodyear's reCharge concept envision regrowing the worn out areas of a car's tires by inserting a cartridge of liquid material chosen based on climate and travel style. I have an exotic idea for tires. For now, if you take tire rotation seriously, you can handle the wear and tear of today's EV tires. This is always important in an internal combustion engine vehicle, but it is very important in an EV because the driven tires are subjected to more abuse and the EV's heavier weight accelerates uneven wear on start-up. Don't buy an EV to save money.