When you purchase an item after clicking a link from this post, we may earn an affiliate commission.
The tires you put on your EV are more critical than you may imagine. Tires are likely the most expensive routine maintenance cost for your electric vehicle. The tires will also impact the ride you get, safety, road noise and the efficiency of your car—and, therefore, its range.
We’ve identified six considerations to help you choose new tires for your EV. There isn’t a perfect tire for every car; what you prefer may differ from the tire we choose.
Here are the six considerations:
Rolling Resistance: Tires can be designed in terms of tread and material to have different features, including, among them, lower rolling resistance, improving efficiency and, therefore, range. The data suggest that this can make a difference of about 1 percent, perhaps impacting your range by three to five miles.
Road Noise: EVs are quiet. The primary noise you experience driving the car on the freeway is the sound the tires make on the road. The motor makes a fraction of the noise that an internal combustion engine makes. Manufacturers design some new tires to produce less noise in a variety of ways.
Strength: EVs are heavy, weighing about 20 percent more than otherwise similar cars. You may want to consider strength and stability, given the weight of your car.
All-Season Traction: depending on where you drive, you may want all-season traction. If you live in an area with a lot of snow, you may prefer to use snow tires in the winter. If you live in Florida like us, you may not need to worry about this.
Weight of the Tire: When we replaced the tires on our Chevy Bolt EV, we chose tires with run-flat features because the Bolt doesn’t come standard with a spare tire. When we took our first road trip, we discovered the mileage and range were about ten percent worse! Thankfully, the vendor offered to swap the tires for free; we chose a set that recovered our range. The most significant difference was the weight of the tires.
Order Online: One of the lessons we took from our tire purchase was that the tires available at a typical tire dealer are somewhat limited. Their expertise in selecting tires for EVs is limited. You may be better off researching tire options for your EV and then ordering them online. Your local tire shop can then mount them for you.
The famous CarTalk team recently published a list of popular EVs and good tires for them. The list includes three tires for a Chevy Bolt:
Of these, we think the Continental Extreme Contact is the best for our needs. We prioritize efficiency over road noise. The Continental is the lightest weight tire of the three. That said, it is not explicitly designed for low rolling resistance or low road noise. We’d give those up for weight to get what we hope would be peak efficiency. You might prioritize low road noise and therefore choose one of the other tires.
The Continental ExtremeContact is the cheapest of the three tires, but not especially cheap. Amazon sells a popular tire called the Milestar MS932 Sport All Season Radial Tire that fits the Bolt and weighs less than a pound per tire more than the Continental but, as of this moment, costs 45 percent less. If cost is a priority for you, this tire, with over 7,000 ratings averaging 4.6 out of five stars, could be worth considering.
Whatever you do, we encourage you to plan ahead, do your research and be strategic about the tires you put on your EV.
Share what you’ve learned about EV tires in the comments or by reply.