ELECTRIC and hybrid cars are accelerating in popularity, with more battery-powered motors registered in the last year than the previous five combined.
And in turns out that purchasing an EV with the wrong type of a particular part could prove disastrous.
Thankfully, experts at Continental Tyres have revealed exactly what to look out for when searching for the right kind of rubber – and where things could go wrong.
According to the team, most EVs on the road are still relatively new and are yet to require any major servicing, maintenance, repairs or replacement parts.
But unsurprisingly, when the time comes, there are some specialist requirements to consider, especially when it comes to tyres.
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The batteries in EVs can make them up to 30 per cent heavier than internal combustion vehicles.
This, coupled with the increased torque that instantly gets them off the line, places a lot of strain on the rubber.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tyres on the market that have been designed with EVs in mind.
However, it’s vital for drivers to know which features to look out for when they come to change the tyres on their EV, or if they’re buying an older, used EV and want to be sure it’s fitted with the right equipment.
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The top three areas of concern are – the increased weight of the car, the noise in the cabin, and low rolling resistance.
1. Extra load
Having tyres that can carry the weight of the car is always important, no matter the motor.
But on an EV, there’s the extra weight of the battery to take into account too.
You should check whether the tyres that came with the vehicle initially are extra load (XL) tyres, with a load range developed to offer higher load capacity than standard tyres.
In some cases, you might even find that heavy load (HL) tyres are required.
The load capacity of new HL tyres equates to a 10 percent increase on the more familiar XL standard.
Always go for a like-for-like tyre replacement that has the load capacity specified by the vehicle manufacturer.
Continental Tyres has a handy guide to see what the load requirement is for your vehicle.
2. Cabin noise
EVs are typically a lot quieter than vehicles with standard internal combustion engines.
As a result, the noise generated from their tyres interacting with the road surface is a lot more noticeable in the cabin.
Continental’s ContiSilent technology, which uses a special layer of polyurethane foam on the inside cavity of the tyre to absorb vibration and noise, is popular with vehicle manufacturers for its ability to reduce in-cab noise levels.
If your EV came with ContiSilent tyres, you should make sure any replacements you have fitted are ContiSilent as well.
3. Range anxiety
Specially designed, low rolling resistance tyres can help to extend an EV’s range by up to 12 per cent.
For newer cars with ranges greater than 250 miles, a tyre with an EU tyre label value of ‘A’ could benefit from an additional 30 miles per charge compared to a ‘C’ rated tyre.
This can not only save you money on charging, but you will also be able to complete longer journeys, uninterrupted.
Steve Howat, general manager for technical services at Continental Tyre Group, said: “While some standard tyres can be fitted to electric vehicles with no impact on performance, many others risk making the braking distance longer, hampering the range and ruining the sound reduction benefits that EVs bring – compromising on the comfort, cost-efficiency and safety of the drive.
“And even within battery-powered vehicles, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach with tyres.
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“The performance requirement can be completely different from vehicle to vehicle, which is why we work closely with each manufacturer at the design stage of a new EV, to develop a tyre that best fits its individual requirements.
“That also means that when the time comes to replace EV tyres, it’s important to invest in a premium, like-for-like option, that enables the vehicle to keep performing at its best, while maximising safety on our roads.”
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