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EV-specific tyres not mandatory but preferable, say experts

As more drivers turn to electric vehicles, fleets are being urged to plan ahead for tyre replacements and scope out their approach.

EV specialist tyres are not essential but will bring benefits. However, the main thing on any EV tyre replacement is to ensure the correct size and load ratings are met and the correct pressure is used

Speaking to Fleet World, EV fleet consultant Jon Burdekin said that tyre maintenance, including checking tyre pressures, will always be important whether the driver is in an ICE vehicle or an electric vehicle. But when it comes to replacements, he advised fleets to adopt a policy of opting for EV-specialist tyres.

“There are different component factors at play here: one is the weight of the vehicle, one is the noise and one is the centre of gravity of the vehicle. Those things affect tyre wear differently.

“An EV-specialist tyre, which has a stronger compound, can support the weight of the battery better and can support the range but it also has a slightly different tread pattern on it which reduces noise.

“You can put another tyre on an electric vehicle but I wouldn’t recommend it, you will find it noisy in comparison. And you’d probably get less range on your vehicle, because of having the wrong tyre on it.”

He continued: “There is no right or wrong answer but I would advise people to look at EV-specialist tyres. As an electric vehicle driver, I always put on an EV-specialist tyre. It does cost more. But there’s an element of false economy. I’m not talking about a budget, non-EV tyre, I’m talking about a premium, non-EV tyre, versus an EV tyre. Yes, you will pay a little more for the EV tyre but you will get less noise and it will support the weight of the battery a little more.”

ATS Euromaster has also published its tips for fleets on replacing tyres on electric vehicles, echoing Burdekin’s comments that specialist tyres are not essential but will bring benefits. However, the main thing is to ensure the correct size and load ratings are met and the correct pressure is used.

Mark Holland, operations director at ATS Euromaster, said: “Tyres for electric vehicles will generally have better-rolling resistance, maximising the distance the car can travel. Because there’s not as much noise created by these vehicles – since there’s no internal combustion engine – these tyres will have better dB reduction, so less road noise can be heard inside the cabin as a result.

“More EVs in the future will begin having specific EV tyres fitted to these vehicles as original equipment, and although it’s always recommended to change tyres like for like where possible, as this will offer the best vehicle performance, this isn’t mandatory.

“What is important when it comes to replacement is that the correct tyre size and load ratings for the vehicle are used, no matter which product is selected.”

ATS Euromaster has also published its top tips for fleets when replacing tyres on EVs:

  • Specific tyres for EVs are only just arriving onto the market, meaning there will be fewer choices available compared with other tyres and patterns.
  • An EV tyre is like a homologation on a vehicle: the original tyres should be replaced by the same ones where possible, but if not, the correct size and load ratings must be met.
  • Changing a tyre on an EV model is the same as on an ICE vehicle. However, the location of the battery in some vehicles means special jacking rubber pads are needed on the jacks to avoid damaging the battery. The driver should also refer to the owner’s manual for any specific actions required.
  • Tyres should always be changed in vehicle sets – but if this isn’t possible, then change in pairs. New tyres should always be fitted to the rear for improved stability in poor conditions, with the older tyres moved to the front if they’re in good condition and still legal.

Holland continued: “Fitting the correct tyres for electric vehicles will not only make it a better in-car experience for fleet drivers, but also provide the best performance from the vehicle.

“Check the owner’s manual for any information on how to change a tyre, in case there are any specific instructions, plus details on the vehicle’s tyre size and load ratings. Not following such advice may lead to unplanned vehicle downtime that may affect the business.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.