What you need to know about electric cars

  • 28/06/2018
An Eco Electric car is re-charged from city street power point.

At this year's Geneva International Motor Show, the tyre manufacturer Goodyear revealed a new torque resistant tyre designed exclusively for electric vehicles. 

Tyres on any car are a balance of durability, handling, and noise reduction and electric cars make all of that harder. In fact, Goodyear has found that traditional tyres on electric vehicles wear out up to 30% faster.

As you can't just put any old tyre on an electric vehicle, it's important to always go to an expert.

"EVs have specific tyre requirements to give you the best driving experience," says Phil Jackson, National Health-Safety Manager at Carter's Tyres.

"The tyres are likely to be a different in size and made up of different materials so that they offer a quiet ride that helps get as much range as possible."

This does mean that a new set of tyres are probably going to be a little more expensive.

"When it comes time to replace tyres you should replace them with at least the same type that came with the vehicle," says Mr Jackson.

"If you opt for less expensive tyres, they may not have the same weight carrying capabilities making them dangerous and you will end up replacing them more often."

There's a huge amount of research going to into creating the perfect tyre for electric cars.

Michelin, which provides all the tyres for Tesla, has been doing similar work to Goodyear.

It's created a tyre with the least rolling resistance - the amount a tyre deforms, which requires more energy to keep it rolling. To do this the tyre needs to be made stiffer. But doing that makes for a bumpier ride.

Why the need for a smarter tyre?

Electric cars put more resistance into the wheels so the battery can regenerate, this puts more strain on the tyres. They also need greater range due to the current limits of battery capacity and because they are so quiet there's nothing to mask road noise.

Electric vehicles generate huge amounts of instant torque. This combined with the extra weight of the battery also takes its toll.

Not only are they heavier than a regular petrol car, but electric vehicles also have a different weight distribution. The batteries are spread under the floor, beneath the seats, so there's not as much weight at the front or rear.

For high-performance electric vehicles, it's even worse. Teslas have some of the biggest batteries in the market, which is the bulk of the weight, and the cars are incredibly powerful.

This means they require wheel balancing and tyre rotation on a more regular basis than other cars due to the wear caused to the tyres. Tesla's own guidelines say they need rotating every 3000 miles.

Of course it's not just tyres. There are other things to be aware of when buying an electric car.

● Is it full electric or does it have a range-extending petrol engine?

● What's the range of the battery? Can you take it for longer drives?

● How are you going to charge it? Is there a plug where you can charge it overnight?

● What are electricity prices like where you are? (charging an EV is roughly the same as 30c/litre for petrol).

So whether you're driving an electric sports car or a battery-powered hatchback, it pays to get a professional to check your tyres on a regular basis to make sure you're driving in quiet comfort.

This story was created for Carter's Tyres.