We’re here to help clarify the new world of “EV” tires and what that really means. Urban fleet managers don’t need to use a tire marked “EV” as long as they’re mindful of the tires they choose. Leading the market for 130 years, Michelin continues to bring the best tires to the road, now for EV users as well. As EVs continue to rollout in North America, there’s been some anxiety on the expected range of EV travel. The continued advancements of batteries have lessened some of those concerns, which has led to the shift in electric commercial vehicles in urban areas—from electric buses for public transportation to electric vans for last mile delivery. Let’s explore the world of EV tires and what EV really means to you as a fleet manager.
What to Keep in Mind When Selecting Tires for Your Growing EV Fleet
Lower Rolling Resistance is the X factor—according to B2B Product Category Manager at Michelin, Mike Tolman. Michelin has always been at the forefront of designing, testing, and delivering low rolling resistance tires that improve the fuel-efficiency of internal combustion engine powered vehicles. Since the early 1990’s, Michelin has demonstrated their lower rolling resistance and fuel efficiency by conducting real-time demonstrations in fleet operations. These tests have proven the fuel savings that can be gained from using low resistance tires, optimized for low energy consumption. The same factors are important when choosing tires for electric vehicles. Aimed to help maximize the battery capacity and extend the range, the construction of the tire compounds and tread patterns are optimized to create the most energy-efficient, low rolling resistance tires.
lower rolling resistance
Compact small size white mini van with cargo compartment for local deliveries and small business needs for customers commercial cargo delivery driving on the turning road with forest on the sides
What is Different About an EV Designated Tire?
For Michelin, nothing is different. But we don’t designate our tires with an EV badge. The EV designation is used by some manufacturers to steer consumers toward specific tires. When you’re talking about Electric Vehicles, fuel savings equates to extended battery life. The same characteristic, low rolling resistance, that saves fuel also helps an electric vehicle go further on a charge. Throughout the years, Michelin has used various terms on the side of the tire to indicate lower rolling resistance and thus fuel savings. These terms include “Energy”, “Green,” and even a “Plus” symbol on some tire lines. Total cost of ownership remains the primary metric to evaluate any purchase for a fleet manager. Specifically for tires, the lowest rolling resistance, longest tread life, lowest cost per mile, and driver confidence in every weather condition are the true indicators. So don’t be misled that you need a tire marked “EV”. Now that you know what really matters, you can choose wisely.
Tire Testing. Conducted Correctly.
How do we know our tires will deliver? We perform tests regularly at the Michelin Laurens Proving Grounds located in Laurens, SC to evaluate the performance and dependability through dry and wet surface and off-road testing. We also use the Smithers Winter Test Center in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for winter traction testing in extreme cold conditions. And our field engineers do on-site customer surveys with fleets in the field to closely monitor tire wear, mileage, and other aspects.
Cut Out the Noise.
While not the primary factor, drivers and passengers of electric commercial vehicles in our field research have expressed interest in a tire with low tire noise. Bus passengers immediately notice the difference when traveling on EV buses vs. conventionally powered buses in city routes. One major city bus fleet discovered that this led to higher passenger traffic on quieter EV bus lines. When we run noise evaluation tests for the interior of cabins, our tires perform exceptionally well for low ambient noise levels.
As the number of commercial EVs increases in North America, driver comfort and lower road noise levels that are inherent with EVs will be in higher demand.