If you’ve glanced at the vehicles of other road users while driving, you’ll no doubt have noticed the typical features of electric vehicles: In Germany, for example, the letter ‘E’ on the license plate indicates that the car is either a fully electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid that meets the relevant statutory requirements for CO₂ emissions and electric range.
The growth in electric mobility is more than just a perception, however – it’s also clearly reflected in the statistics. Germany again: according to the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), a total of 17.7% of new registrations in 2022 were electric vehicles, an increase of 32.2% compared to the previous year. As the number of electric vehicles on our roads for both private and professional use continues to rise, it’s the perfect time to put your knowledge of electric cars to the test. How much do you know about tyres, for example? Did you know that there are now brands that are specifically tailored to the requirements of electric vehicles?
In principle, vehicles with electric or electrified drives can be equipped with the same tyres as their counterparts with combustion engines. Nevertheless, there are a number of special features that more and more tyre manufacturers are incorporating into their products:
This is of major importance for all vehicles, given that 20 to 30% of the total resistance comes from the tyres. As a rule, the lower the rolling resistance, the lower the energy consumption. Drivers of electric vehicles benefit from this through a longer range. But how is rolling resistance reduced? Tyre manufacturers have various ways of doing this, for example by reducing thermal and mechanical influences through new rubber compounds or structural changes to the tyre substructure.
Torque and vehicle weight
Electric vehicles offer impressive dynamic acceleration from a standing start. This has an impact on the tyres, however. With instant torque, the immediate build-up of torque for starting off, the tyres are subjected to high loads. At the same time, the battery housed in the vehicle floor means that electric vehicles weigh on average a third more than cars with combustion engines. Both factors cause increased friction on the road surface. That’s why manufacturers are adjusting their tyres accordingly.
The drive technology of an electric vehicle can not only reduce CO₂ emissions, consumption and running costs, but also ensures less engine noise. Interestingly, this can lead to the driving noise from the tyres being more clearly noticeable in the cabin. A fact that Volkswagen, for example, takes into account when developing its own products.
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