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Continental electric vehicle tires on the VW Volkswagen ID.3

Electric vehicle tires – Everything you need to know

Best tires 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 tires 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 tire as we know it to ensure optimum performance. Find out about changing tire requirements, tire innovations at Continental and the latest tire tech for the electric age.

Increased weight, longer braking distance, instant tire torque and higher EV tire 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 tires.

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

Our tailor-made Continental tire innovations meet the main challenges posed by electric vehicles in three ways:

  • Electric vehicle tires carry a heavier load and have to withstand instant torque, leading to higher EV tire wear, so we need to create a stronger sidewall and use more robust rubber compounds.
  • Greater mass and increased inertia means longer braking distance, so we place a special emphasis on optimal grip.
  • With instant torque, increased weight and lower emissions comes an even greater need for minimal rolling resistance, so our electric car tires offer a smoother, more energy-efficient and low-impact ride. 

Electric and hybrid car tire guide

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

How to choose electric vehicle tires

Buy a special tire for electric car use

By purchasing an e-car or hybrid, you’ve already bought into the future of mobility. Round off your cutting-edge car with forward-looking equipment by choosing tires designed to perfectly complement electric vehicle technology.

Check the tire load index

Buying tires that can carry the weight of your car is always important, but it is crucial when choosing an electric car tire. Effectively, due to the weight of EVs, you need extra-strong tires with reinforced sidewalls.

Tire design for the electric age

The design of tires for electric vehicles has to be adapted to accommodate stronger sidewalls while ensuring optimal road contact and reducing drag. The Conti.eContact™, for example, features an aerodynamic sidewall design with golf ball structure, which helps create the right tire “footprint” by optimizing the amount of rubber in direct contact with the road’s surface.

Optimum grip for shorter EV braking distance

More weight also means longer braking distance. A good tire can make up for that, so it’s important to use the best rubber compound possible. Continental’s Conti.eContact™ tire relies on its premium Green Chilli compound with grip additives for improved braking performance, even for heavier EVs. Innovative HydroSipes diffuse water more efficiently, for wet handling and braking that matches tire performance in the dry.

Low friction tires for electric vehicles

A tire’s rolling resistance takes on an even greater importance for electric cars. Lower rolling resistance helps mitigate the increased EV tire wear caused by instant torque. Less friction means higher efficiency and increased range, while also contributing to EV tire longevity and your car’s overall sustainability. In the absence of engine sound, low noise tires contribute to a smooth and silent driving experience by reducing the amount of tire road noise transferred to the passenger cabin.

Robust compounds to withstand electric car tire torque

Electric vehicles boast instant torque, meaning they accelerate the second you put the pedal to the metal. However, the instant tire torque of electric vehicles can also increase wear and tear. In addition to good grip and low rolling resistance, the rubber compound used for EV tires also needs to provide maximum robustness.

Continental electric vehicle tire production

Conti.eContact™ – our best tire for electric cars

Continental’s tire innovation specialists have risen to the challenges of the mobility revolution. The Conti.eContact™, a special tire for electric cars, addresses the specific issues raised by the increased weight of EVs and hybrids. It helps balance the need for low rolling resistance, high grip and sturdiness.

Conti.eContact™ electric vehicle tires

Electric car tire protection, care and maintenance

To increase EV tire longevity, maintenance is especially important. As with other tires, you should check the air pressure of your electric vehicle tires regularly and adjust if necessary. Correct wheel alignment will reduce EV tire 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 tire, and will recommend alignment or rotation, as needed.

If possible, replace tires 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. Continental has provided original equipment tires for Tesla and the new Volkswagen ID.3, but you will also find the right Conti.eContact™ tire to suit many other types of electric vehicles.

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