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Do Electric Cars need special tires?

Now that electric vehicles have been out for a while, owners are finding that it’s about time to get a new set of tires.
The question often comes up at that time, “Can I put any tire on my EV or do I need special tires?” I wondered the same thing on my first go around.

The answer to that is.. No, you don’t need special tires just for electric cars. However as with any car you should choose a tire with the appropriate specifications.

Let’s take a Tesla Model 3 for example.

Some recommended tires for the Model 3 thanks to Tirerack are:

  • Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
  • Continental Extremecontact Sport
  • Pirelli P ZERO Nero
  • Bridgetone Potenza RE050A

Those are all fantastic tires, but nothing special about them. Except, if you take a look at the specs you will notice that the load range indicates XL

For example:

BRIDGESTONE POTENZA RE050AMax Performance Summer

  • Size: 235/40R19 96Y XL
  • Style: Blackwall
  • Load Range: XL
  • Serv. Desc: 96Y
  • UTQG: 140 A A

These are the same tires you would put on a Corvette or a BMW M4. Not specific to EV’s and yet one of the best tires you can buy. They are desinged not just for heavier cars, but also cars that can put a large load on the tire due to extreme performance. There are many tires that have an XL rating.

Does it matter what tire I put on my EV?

It only matters because of these two factors.

  • Weight

Electric Vesicles weigh in average 20-30% more than gas engine cars in a similar class.
This means you want a quality tire capable of handling that extra weight. Tires designed for this will have a stiffer side wall and more solid inner construction the handle higher weight loads.

It also happens that tires designed for extra weight also have better traction. Another thing nice to have when you consider the instant torque of EV motors.

  • Noise

You may have noticed this over your entire car ownership experience. Some tires make a lot of noise and some are much quieter. If you don’t have an engine to drown out that tire whine you will be forever cursing the day you bought those cheap tires.

Not all tires have noise ratings, so be sure to check out reviews to find which tires are quieter than others.

Following these two steps will ensure that you have the most pleasant experience with your car.

As they say, tires are the only thing holding your car to the road, so it’s not wise to skimp. However, if a dealer is insisting that you need special tires because you have an EV and trying to sell you headlight fluid at the same time, find another dealer.

Some manufacturers do sell specific EV tires, harder than most to reduce rolling resistance. If maximum range is your ultimate goal, then these may be right for you. Consider your use, your budget and the specs and you will find the right tire for you.. at any budget.