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How to choose the right tyres for electric cars

When it comes to changing the tyres on an electric vehicle, it’s important to understand the differences between tyres for electric cars and those designed for a vehicle with an internal combustion engine. Discover the work behind electric car tyres, and how there’s a lot more behind that black, rubber exterior than you might expect.

Are tyres for electric cars the same as for combustion-powered cars?

Electric vehicles and traditional internal combustion engines (ICE) might look the same, they can sometimes even be fitted with the same tyres! Still, to maximise the benefits of electric cars, Michelin has developed tyres to fit them exclusively. Keep in mind that any of our tyre line is suitable for electric vehicles, even if MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV and MICHELIN e·Primacy, are specifically designed for.

With an electric vehicle fitted with tyres that are designed for it, the battery range, the preservation of silence in the interior are what strikes the most. In addition, as soon as you press the accelerator, you’re immediately at 100% of the vehicle’s power. Whereas, with a combustion-powered vehicle, the engine is powered gradually. This means the weight transfers are a lot more intense than with a combustion-powered vehicle.

These differences between an electric and an ICE-powered car have consequences on tyre design. At Michelin we design our electric car tyres differently to optimize the performances of the electric vehicles. The battery range, the silence in the cabin, and tyre longevity are optimized while maintaining a high level of safety and driving pleasure of your electric car.

Are tyres for electric cars the same for all types of cars?

As with an ICE-powered vehicle, there isn’t a one-tyre-fits-all option for electric vehicles. It all comes down to the purpose of the car. Michelin designs tyres specifically in regard to how it is going to be used. A tyre needs to respond to different driving demands, just like all other types of cars.

A driver of a sports car, for example, has very different expectations from its vehicle than that of a city car. This type of driver wants great precision at the steering wheel. They buy a sports car because, upon turning the steering wheel, they feel the vehicle responds. This is the driving enjoyment they seek. Thus, tyres for electric vehicle sport car must combine both electric vehicle specificities and driving precision.

The challenges for an electric sports car tyre

Achieving this sensation from a sports car tyre involves considerable research and development. A soft, unresponsive tyre that doesn’t respond as well as the vehicle affects the entyre experience, and the driver loses many of the benefits of the car’s sporty nature, hence the need for a sports car tyre specifically designed for an electric vehicle.

Electric sports cars have a powerful electric motor that provide instant torque and fast accelerations. To support these motors, you need to have a strong battery, and this results in weight. 400kg is the average weight for a battery in an electric sports car. With this amount of weight and power you’ll need to have excellent control of the car and pay attention to preserve the autonomy of the battery that will be downgraded by this additional load. The challenge is therefore mostly down to achieving the precise balance between control and the autonomy linked to the additional mass.

How do you know which tyres to fit on your electric car?

The MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV tyre has been designed to satisfy the very specific performance characteristics required by electric sports vehicles.

The MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV tyre innovates with increased cornering stiffness to keep handling sensations at the level of those of an internal combustion vehicle, with 15% more cornering stiffness(1) to compensate for the mass increase.

The MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV also offers 60km of additional range(2) while reducing by 20% the perceived noise level(3), to maximize your driving pleasure, for longer.

MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV tire: Electrified road control, made to last | Michelin

MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV tire: Electrified road control, made to last | Michelin

For electric vehicles, the MICHELIN e·Primacy tyre can increase battery range by up to 7%(6). As well as all these characteristics, other performance such as wet grip and longevity are still high standard(7)(8), offering high level of safety.

Michelin also develops marked tyres with electric vehicles makers such as Mercedes-AMG, Porsche, Tesla. A marked tyre implies that all the car manufacturer's requirements have been met, this also applies to the electric car tyres.

Michelin adapts a wide range of tyres for electric car makers. You can recognize them by the tyre marking on the sidewall. 

New MICHELIN e.PRIMACY Tyre - Eco-responsible, made to last

New MICHELIN e.PRIMACY Tyre - Eco-responsible, made to last

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(1) Cornering stiffness internal study conducted on a machine in 10/2020, on dimension 255/45 R19, comparing MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV versus MICHELIN Pilot Sport 4 SUV.

(2) Better battery range for HP EV - Rolling Resistance internal study conducted in 10/2020, on dimension 255/45 R19, comparing MICHELIN Pilot Sport EV (6.7kg/t) versus MICHELIN Pilot Sport 4 SUV (8.8kg/t). For an electrical vehicle of a mass 2151kg, with an autonomy of 540km, this gap of 2.1kg/t drives to a gain of autonomy of more than 60km, or more than 10% of the initial range.

(3) - noise disturbance - Internal noise measurement, done in 2016 on size 245/45 R19 on KIA Cadenza. Noise level measured on the range "170-230Hz". Results may vary according to vehicle, tyre range and size, speed and road conditions.


MICHELIN e·Primacy

(4) Rolling resistance test - Rolling Resistance tests conducted on machine by Applus Idiada, on Michelin's request, June (on new) & August (on 2mm buffed) 2020, on dimension 205/55 R16 91V, comparing MICHELIN e.PRIMACY (new: 5.58kg/t & worn: 5.13kg/t) versus MICHELIN PRIMACY 4 (new: 7.74kg/t & worn: 6.25kg/t) ; BRIDGESTONE TURANZA T005 (new: 7.17kg/t & worn: 5.81kg/t) ; CONTINENTAL ECOCONTACT 6 (new: 6.39kg/t & worn: 5.49kg/t) ; CONTINENTAL PREMIUM CONTACT 6 (new: 8,93kg/t & worn: 6,94kg/t) ; DUNLOP BLURESPONSE (new: 7.97kg/t & worn: 5.54kg/t) ; GOODYEAR EFFICIENT GRIP 2 (new: 7.01kg/t & worn: 5.38kg/t) ; PIRELLI CINTURATO P7 BLUE (new: 6.96kg/t & worn: 6.30kg/t) ; PIRELLI CINTURATO P7 (new: 8.79kg/t & worn: 6.97kg/t).


(5) MICHELIN e.PRIMACY category of tyres is defined as one of the Premium summer tyres such as CONTINENTAL, GOODYEAR, BRIDGESTONE, PIRELLI, DUNLOP brands, and which are not dedicated to Original Equipment application (i.e. not designed to achieve car manufacturers specific targets) but tyres that can be purchased from retailers.


(6) Increased EV battery range and CO₂ reduction - When new, MICHELIN e.PRIMACY generates 2kg/t on average Rolling Resistance less than competitors, equivalent in fuel consumption reduction of up to 0.21l/100km, equivalent of a gain in CO₂ emission up to 5g  for a VW Golf 7 1.5 TSI or equivalent of gain of up to 7% in autonomy for a VW e.Golf.


(7) Longevity - Longevity test conducted by DEKRA TEST CENTER, on Michelin's request, June-July 2020, on dimension 205/55  R16 91V on VW Golf 7 comparing MICHELIN e.PRIMACY (100%) versus MICHELIN Primacy 4 (102.1%); Longevity test run in average real usage (D50) with 14.460 km run and extrapolated longevity at 1.6mm. Test winner ADAC Summer 2020 235/55 R17 test performed by ADAC on a Ford Kuga in 2020. This test was performed in 235/55 R17. Michelin Primacy 4 is the best of 12 tested tyres according to tested properties (wet, dry, noise, wear, fuel consumption). Michelin Primacy 4 is test winner with the following comments: "Very balanced with top marks in the wet, excellent low wear, very good in the dry" - Ranked 1.0 in Wear.


(8) - Wet grip - MICHELIN e.PRIMACY is rated "B" on the Wet Grip Item of the European labelling scale.