Electric vehicles weigh more than fossil fuel powered vehicle mainly due to the added weight from battery packs. For supporting this weight, tire manufacturers must adapt their tire design by putting tougher material on the sidewalls and using softer compounds to contain the high torque generated by the electric vehicle. It is estimated that electric vehicles get their tires worn out almost 20% quicker than normal fossil fuel powered vehicle.
Another major point to be considered is the sound tire makes when it hits the road. Since electric vehicles are soundless a small sound from tires can cause distraction for the driver. Hence tire manufacturers must focus more on designing tires which produces lesser sound.
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There are companies like Nokian which are focused on producing premium tires for electric vehicle including Tesla Model 3, VW e-Golf, Tesla Model X, Tesla Model S, BMW i3, Hyundai Ioniq Electric, and Audi e-Tron. The company gives focus on tires with lower rolling resistance so that it requires lesser energy to rotate. Major tire manufacturers like Continental provides special tire for electric vehicles under the brand Conti.eContact. These tires provide minimal rolling resistance and aerodynamic sidewall design. Hankook Tire, a South Korean tire company is focusing on electric vehicle tires under the brand Kinergy AS EV. The tires are more focused on providing better handling and lesser noise production.
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While most of the tire manufacturers are focusing on tire tread and material of manufacture, vendors like Goodyear is going more futuristic by researching and designing on tires which generate electricity to charge electric vehicles. BH03 is a concept tire launched by Goodyear in 2015, which can generate electricity from heat produced in the tires using thermoelectric fibers. Tires change the shape while rolling and an embedded piezoelectric material is fixed in the tire to improve the amount of electricity produced.
– Arjun Das
ICT – Research Analyst