What Dealers Need to Know About EV Tires

May 17, 2021

MTD recently asked tire manufacturers, “What do tire dealers need to know about the performance demands that electric cars place on tires?” Here’s what they had to say:

Dale Harrigle, chief engineer for product development, consumer replacement, Bridgestone Americas Inc.: “I think the primary focus” for dealers “should be on wear and rolling resistance. When they find a tire that works well on EVs, it would be good to stay with that tire.”

Mauricio Mendez Sotelo, technical product management, research and development, passenger and light truck tires, Continental Tire the Americas LLC.: Checking air pressure “will be much more critical for EVs in terms of the contribution of the pressure of the tire to the weight of the car. Pay attention to inflation pressure.”

Ben Patel, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.: “Electric cars now have a wide range of performance, just like traditional internal combustion engine cars — everything from economy-oriented city commuters to high performance supercars. The overarching theme is that an EV will generally weigh more, though, so the load capacity and inflation pressures of an EV need to be matched to any replacement tire fitted.”

Steve Rohweder, vice president, technology development, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.: “EVs present a specific set of challenges and demands related to load, torque, noise, range, rolling resistance and overall performance. Many experts advise replacing tires with OE models not only designed for EV needs, but specifically made to fit that precise model.”

Rodrigo Uso, senior technical account manager and technical sales team leader, North America, Hankook Tire America Corp.: “Let customers know that each vehicle has been tuned for every OE tire. In order to make sure the end user continues to experience the same performance of their vehicle, it’s extremely important that dealers know how to convince their customers to use only the OE tire because it is the right fit.”

Rick Cunat, managing director of Kumho Tire USA Inc.’s Americas technical center: “The transformation to EVs will certainly have an impact on the maintenance sector of the business. Oil changes are eliminated and brake service is significantly reduced due to regenerative braking. The items that will need maintenance on EVs are wiper fluid, wiper blades and tires.”

Steve Calder, technical marketing manager, Michelin North America Inc.: “A driver with a heavy foot can absolutely tear through a set of tires more rapidly than with an internal combustion engine vehicle” due to the extra weight of EVs.

Aaron Neumann, product development manager at Nexen Tire America Inc.’s technical center: Dealers “need to be careful about what they are selling. They may get customers who might have a complaint about the uniformity or vibration of a tire. They might get more of those with EVs because EVs are so refined. Quiet tires work better on an EV. You’ll get fewer complaints.”

Robin Wilkes, vice president of original equipment, Pirelli Tire North America: “The biggest thing for dealers to keep in mind is that we know EVs are wearing tires out more quickly than traditional vehicles. Studies peg (wear) at 20% quicker than regular internal combustion engine vehicle tires. Dealers will see people coming in to replace tires on EVs more regularly.”

Richard Smallwood, CEO and president, Sumitomo Rubber North America Inc.: “Not every EV customer will have the same wants and desires. One size does not fit all, so the dealer needs to listen to the customer and then know which tire options are available to them.”

Conrad Galamgam, vice president, product planning and technical services, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp.: Electric vehicles “provide an opportunity for tire dealers to help their customers identify and recommend the right tire to match their electric vehicle experience. Luxury EVs with high torque and air suspension will need high performance tires designed with improved treadwear.”

Thomas Kenny,senior director of research and development, Yokohama Tire Corp.: “Tire warranty — specifically treadwear — that was developed based upon a standard vehicle application will be more difficult to achieve on an EV."

Click on the following to read recent MTD articles about EVs:

How Electric Vehicles Impact Tire Design

Is Your Business 'Shock-Proof?" Four Things to Keep in Mind as Vehicles Electrify

Here's How One Dealer is Mapping an All-Electric Future