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Best EV Tires For Driving Range

Electric vehicle manufacturers have made significant strides in improving electric vehicle ranges to alleviate “range anxiety” for the end-user. While much of the attention has been focused on battery technology controls and vehicle aerodynamics, tires also have a significant impact on an EV’s range and performance.

Tires are the only part of your vehicle that make contact with the road surface, aiding in acceleration, braking, handling, noise reduction, and overall vehicle performance. That said, it’s worth discussing how tires affect vehicle efficiency and, consequently, range. Here are some of the ways tires affect the range and performance of an electric vehicle.

The best EV tires will extend your driving range in the following ways:

1) Air Pressure

Incorrect air pressure can degrade the performance and efficiency of any electric vehicle. Heat is lost faster in an underinflated tire, resulting in higher rolling resistance and, ultimately, poor range efficiency.

The air pressure in a tire can vary significantly over time and when temperatures change, so check the pressure in your tires at least once a month. Check your tires in the winter more frequently because cold temperatures can cause more air pressure loss. Also, make sure when you change to winter tires in the fall that the air pressure is checked.

2) Rolling Resistance

Rolling resistance is the force that impedes motion. The lower the rolling resistance, the higher the efficiency.

Several factors influence rolling resistance, including wheel size. Smaller tires have a greater range than larger ones because their energy consumption is lower. A Tesla Model S with 19-inch tires, for example, uses about 5% less energy than one with a 21-inch tire.

Tire downsizing is not solely based on range, as there are other consequences that will affect other aspects of driving. Most EV drivers would likely be willing to give up some range in exchange for better traction and control.

3) Electric Vehicle Specific and Standard Tires

Electric vehicles, as opposed to internal combustion vehicles, require tires that match their heavy weight, instant torque, and power output.

Regular tires cannot withstand these demands and, when used, suffer as a result, as well as wear out faster. While they may look similar, regular tires are made of different compounds, which can negatively affect drivability and, in some cases, be dangerous.

EV-specific tires, on the other hand, are designed to improve low rolling resistance and noise output while also supporting the heavy battery weight for improved range and performance.

Contact your local Trail Tire Auto Center location to learn more about what summer and winter tires are best for your electric vehicle. Whether it is your wheels and tires, a set of winter tires, or all-season tires Trail Tire can assist to find the proper wheels and tires for your electric vehicle.

4) Ultra-High Performance Tires

Ultra-high-performance tires are made specifically for high-performance electric vehicles such as the Tesla Model Y. UHP tires are meant to improve high-performance driving and handle sporty, responsive driving while maintaining excellent traction levels.

However, as a result of the different designs of the tires, tread, and/or compound, you are likely to experience increased noise levels and reduced range as a trade-off for all of the extra grip and performance. Check with your local Trail Tire specialist to see what will work best for your vehicle.

5) Tire Conditions

While electric vehicles require a lot less maintenance, there is a need to keep an eye on the tread depth. Driving an electric vehicle with worn-out tires reduces road traction, which in turn impacts an electric vehicle’s range and performance.  

Regular tire rotation evens out wear and helps to extend the life of your electric vehicle’s tires. Additionally, make sure your tires’ tread depth is correct by checking it on a regular basis. The minimum legal tread depth is 1.6mm (2/32 inch).

For a quick tread check, you can use a toonie. Simply insert the outside edge of the toonie into the tread of your tire. If the tread reaches as far as the bear’s paws, your tire is in good shape. If it reaches across the silver, they are 50% worn, and if the tire tread reaches only about halfway into the letters, it’s time to shop for new tires.

6) Maintaining Electric Vehicle Tires

Now that you understand how tires affect EV efficiency, it’s critical to not only choose the right tires for your EV but also to maintain them consistently for optimal performance. Be sure to:

  • Visually inspect tires before driving
  • Only using EV-specific tires
  • Choose tires with the right load rating
  • Regular tire rotations
  • Maintain the correct air pressure