# Tyre basics

Electric vehicle tyres – Everything you need to know

Best tyres for electric cars and hybrids

Electric vehicles and low emission hybrid cars are driving the transformation of mobility as we know it. This means it’s time to learn more about the high-tech, sustainable tyres that keep them rolling into an emission-free future. While we don’t quite have to reinvent the wheel, we have to rethink many aspects of the tyre as we know it to ensure optimum performance. Find out about changing tyre requirements, our tyre innovations and the latest tyre tech for the electric age.


Electric car being charged

Increased weight means longer braking distance, instant torque means high tyre wear

Compared to combustion cars, electric drive technology lowers engine noise, emissions, maintenance and running costs. However, one consequence of the many electric vehicle benefits is a significant increase in weight. Batteries are heavy and their weight places additional strain on electric car tyres.

Increased weight, longer braking distance, instant tyre torque and higher tyre wear

Electric car tyre torque also has a positive and negative side. On the one hand, it means instant acceleration. On the other, this instant torque places additional strain on the tyre. 

Our tyre innovations meet the main challenges posed by electric vehicles in four ways:

  • Electric vehicle tyres are typically heavier than today’s internal combustion engines (ICE). The load capacities of a tyre will have to increase and a new HL – heavy load – designation will be introduced.  HL is typically at least three load indexes higher than a standard Extra Load (XL) for any tyre. 
Our tyre innovations meet the main challenges posed by electric vehicles in four ways:
  • Greater mass and increased inertia means longer braking distance, so we place a special emphasis on optimal grip.
  • Electric vehicles are typically a lot quieter than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles, so we concentrate on sound reducing technologies for our tyres.
  • With instant torque, increased weight and lower emissions comes an even greater need for minimal rolling resistance, so our electric car tyres offer a smoother, more energy-efficient, low-impact ride. 
weight torque

Electric and hybrid car tyre guide

Choosing the right tyres for electric vehicles is essential for efficiency, braking performance and mileage. Here’s what to consider when buying new electric or hybrid car tyres:


Check the tyre load index

Buying tyres that can carry the weight of your car is always important, but it is crucial when choosing electric car tyres. Effectively, due to the weight of electric vehicles, you may need a tyre that can carry the extra weight, sometimes a standard extra load tyre will do, but in some cases the new heavy load (HL) tyres maybe required. Check out our handy guide to see how to see what the load requirement is for your vehicle.

The sound of silence

Electric cars are typically a lot quieter than vehicles with standard internal combustion engines. As a result the noise generated from tyres interacting with the road is a lot more noticeable to the driver. Consider choosing a tyre which has technology that can absorb the sound like our ContiSilent, which uses a special foam layer inside the tyre which can reduce interior noise by up to 9db.

Low friction tyres for electric vehicles 

A tyre's rolling resistance takes on an even greater importance for electric cars. Low rolling resistance tyres can help to extend an EVs range by up to 12%, This isn't much for a car with a range of 80 miles (130km), but for newer cars with ranges in excess of 250 miles (400km), a tyre with an EU tyre label value of 'A' could benefit from an additional 30 miles (50km) per charge compare to a 'C' rated tyre. Now that's significant. Discover more info about the  EU tyre label.

How long will a tyre last on an electric vehicle 

Most people think that tyres wear much quicker on electric vehicles than they do on conventional cars.  In truth , it depends. Tests have shown that for a like-for-like comparison EVs with 2 wheel drive systems can reduce tyre mileage by a quarter, but for EVs with a 4 wheel drive system, tyres actually last 10% longer.

Lab tests are one thing, but the biggest impact on tyre wear will always be the driver. Hard driving wears out tyres, whether you are driving an EV or not, so the benefits of rolling resistance or drive-train can easily be undone.

Which Continental tyre is best tyre for your electric car?

Which Continental tyre is best tyre for your electric car?

Our tyre innovation specialists have risen to the challenges of the mobility revolution and tyre technology is evolving. Does this mean we have a specific range of tyres for electric vehicles?  In a word-No.  Electric vehicles are not all the same (like today's internal combustion engine cars) you will still have small city cars, family hatchbacks and high performance cars and SUV’s. These vehicles still require different performance characteristics from a tyre and so a one size fits all approach will not work.  Our current range of tyres are perfectly suited to the needs of today’s vehicles and already incorporate the technology needed for electric vehicles. Discover our range of tyres.

Electric car tyre protection, care and maintenance

To increase electric vehicle tyre longevity, maintenance is especially important. As with other tyres, you should check the air pressure of your electric vehicle tyres regularly and adjust if necessary. Correct wheel alignment will reduce tyre wear and should be checked every 6 months, or sooner if you have hit a curb, pothole or other obstacle. An expert can check excessive wear, especially on the inside edge of the tyre, and will recommend alignment or rotation, as needed.

If possible, replace tyres with original equipment models, which were not only designed for the needs of electric vehicles, but specifically made to fit the precise model you are driving. In 2020, six of the world's ten highest-volume manufacturers of electric vehicles relied on our tyres for their vehicles. These included Tesla with its Model 3 and Model S and Volkswagen with the ID.3. Also Asian manufacturers, for example BYD, one of China's largest car producers, rely on our tyres as original equipment for their electric vehicles. 

Electric car tyre protection, care and maintenance

Related content