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electric car winter tyres

Do electric cars need winter tyres?

Tips & Advice for Car, SUV & Van tyres

The specificities of Electric Vehicles (EV) should always be taken into account when choosing tyres. But does this apply to winter tyres? Are winter tyres compulsory for this type of car? Do electric cars need special winter tyres? What are the best winter tyres for electric cars? Which MICHELIN tyres guarantee safety, eco-friendliness, and comfort in winter for EV? Read on to get all the answers to your questions about winter tyres for electric cars.

What’s the difference between tyres for electric cars and tyres for non-electric cars?

When designing EV tyres we must consider the differences between electric and non-electric vehicles (Internal combustion engine vehicle). Depending on the vehicle type, driving behavior, environment and road conditions, the performance of the tyre may differ from an EV and a non-EV vehicle. 

Electric cars are weighed down by their batteries, so they need tyres which can carry extra weight. While the battery of an electric car stores the energy, it’s the electric motor that provides the instant torque… and the silence! With an electric vehicle, as soon as you press the accelerator, you are immediately at 100% of the vehicle’s power. This means the weight transfers are sharper, a lot more intense than with an internal combustion engine vehicle, which impacts the wear and tear of the tyres.

Another factor that requires tyres for electric cars to differ from tyres for non-electric cars is noise. Without the noise of a combustion engine, the sound of the tyres on the road surface is much more noticeable in an electric car. So, tyre manufacturers have to create tyres that are far quieter. Thus, perceived interior noise is reduced.

However, there are existing tyres that can be used on both vehicles, EV and non-EV.

Do electric cars need winter tyres?

Although there are differences between electric and non-electric vehicles, the need for winter tyres is the same and should be considered when the temperature falls below 7 degrees Celsius and starts to stay there consistently. What’s more is that the need for winter tyres should be considered for the safety of you and your passengers as the best winter tyres for electric cars maintain flexibility and can decrease your stopping distance by more than double.

If you require performance winter tyres, the MICHELIN Pilot Alpin 5, MICHELIN Pilot Alpin 5 SUV and MICHELIN Pilot Alpin PA4 tyres are all excellent winter options for your electric vehicle. These tyres were designed and approved by premium vehicle manufacturers providing long lasting control and grip on snow, wet and dry roads. They are designed to deliver reduced braking distances on winter roads, while having a reduced impact of fuel consumption due to lower rolling resistance, giving you more freedom on your EV. They also take into account the increased weight and torque of EV and are designed to have the best wear longevity (1) along with core safety characteristics.

For “smaller” electric vehicles, like BMW i3 or Renault Zoé, you can rely on MICHELIN Alpin 6 if you face severe winter conditions. It’s been very well ranked by some prescribers such as ADAC and contributed to Winter tyre manufacturer award obtained by MICHELIN, from Autobild, in 2021 & 2020. It will provide you long lasting performances, in braking & traction on snow (2).

Electric vehicle can also be fitted with MICHELIN CrossClimate², the master of the all-season category in Europe (3). With MICHELIN CrossClimate² you will save time and money and keep the same tyre all year round to move safely anywhere, in any weather. The 2nd generation, MICHELIN CrossClimate², is already homologated on pure electric vehicle such as the Volvo XC40. It’s also available for Renault Zoé, BMW i3, Volkswagen ID4 and will be launched in 2022 for Volkswagen ID3.

In more severe winter conditions, MICHELIN X-ICE SNOW tyre or the studded winter tyre MICHELIN X-ICE NORTH 4 are an excellent option. MICHELIN X-ICE NORTH 4 tyre is designed for ultimate control on ice as this tyre line stud technologies feature improved braking performance and grip on ice, and it was designed for excellent braking and acceleration on snow and better rolling resistance than its previous generation tyre (4).  In addition, due to the mathematical algorithm used to establish the tyre’s stud placement, its noise levels are favorably low for a studded tyre. Still, if noise level and comfort is a concern, a non-studded winter tyre may be a better option.

Why choose MICHELIN winter tyres for electric cars?

Michelin designs winter tyres with the highest standards for all vehicles. EVs can be more demanding of tyre performance in 3 key areas: wear, range, noise; and Michelin has a large winter tyre offer designed to address these specific needs while providing winter mobility and safety, thus providing the best MICHELIN winter tyres for electric cars.

MICHELIN’s best winter tyres for electric cars
  • Wear: MICHELIN winter tyres have been known to provide long lasting wear, this is also true with our latest offers: MICHELIN X-ICE SNOW, MICHELIN X-ICE NORTH 4, MICHELIN Pilot Alpin 5 family.  As Electric vehicles tend to be heavier, Michelin has that covered as many winter tyre sizes come in extra load already.
  • Range: Michelin has been a pioneer in low rolling resistance technology for over 3 decades. MICHELIN GreenX, the pioneer energy saving tyre, was introduced in 1992. Since then, Michelin has continuously worked at reducing rolling resistance in its tyres.  This includes the MICHELIN X-ICE SNOW tyre, whose rolling resistance was reduced by 9% compared to the previous generation tyre (5).
  • Noise:  MICHELIN winter tyrelines are tuned with Piano technology for low pattern noise.  MICHELIN X-ICE SNOW, MICHELIN X-ICE NORTH 4, MICHELIN Pilot Alpin and MICHELIN Latitude Alpin offer very low levels of noise.  Making them the ideal choices for electric vehicles.

In summary, Michelin currently has a strong winter tyre portfolio to address today’s electric vehicles and consumer needs.

How to choose the right winter tyre for electric cars?

Choosing the best winter tyres for electric cars is the same as choosing a winter tyre for a non-electric vehicle.  You need to consider the tyre’s performance on snow and ice (ie. traction, braking), tyre availability, tyre warranty, pricing, etc.  There are additional factors that you will want to consider when choosing a winter tyre for your electric vehicle: range, weight, torque and noise, as mentioned above.  

If you are an electric vehicle driver that is concerned with the overall range of the vehicle, then choosing one of the best low rolling resistance MICHELIN winter tyres for electric cars is a great option for you. Electric vehicles are heavier than non-electric vehicles, which means you will need to choose a tyre that can safely carry the extra load of the vehicle.  You can find this information in your vehicle owner’s manual or on the tyre information sticker found on the driver’s side door of your vehicle. In addition, electric vehicles tend to have greater torque, more acceleration power, than a non-electric vehicle, which can increase the wear of your tyres. If you want to enjoy your tyres winter performance for many seasons, choose one of MICHELIN winter tyres that offer long lasting performance for your EV. 

Tyres have considerable impact on the way vehicles behave, that is why it's important to have the best winter tyres for electric cars. Driving in winter is tricky regardless which vehicle you drive, therefore choosing a premium winter tyre that provides excellent winter performance, safety and mobility is necessary. Winter tyres are designed to perform better in a wide range of winter conditions such as wet roads, slush, snow, and ice. They also improve your vehicle's grip and performance in these conditions, and they shorten your braking distances for better safety. In summary, the right winter tyres for an electric vehicle can be the same winter tyres for a non-electric vehicle.

How do I protect the tyres on my electric car?

As for any other tyres, there are two main ways you can protect your electric car tyres and thereby optimize their lifetime: maintenance and driving style.

Electric car tyres maintenance involves monitoring the pressure, alignment, and wear.
The pressure of your electric car winter tyres is a significant factor that affects the average distance an electric car can go. Driving with under-inflated winter tyres will result in unnecessary electricity consumption, as the tyres require more energy to roll. Not to mention that incorrectly inflated winter tyres can lead to premature wear and tear. Keep in mind that vehicles get a sticker from the manufacturer which indicates the recommended pressure for specific sizes of car tyres. There are also recommendations according to whether the car is loaded or not for you to check the pressure.

Eco-driving is an expression we hear more and more these days, and with good reason. With the objective of reducing energy consumption, the right driving style not only maximizes the range of an electric vehicle, it also optimizes electric car tyres quality and performance. In summary, driving style is particularly important. Use moderate acceleration and gentle, regenerative braking. Take corners carefully. That’s the best way to extend the battery range, and the longevity of your electric car tyres.

Are there driving recommendations for driving in winter with an electric car?

Drive safely in winter with the best winter tyres for electric cars

The first thing to take into consideration is that electric vehicles are usually heavier than regular vehicles due to the battery packs. Driving on the same road using the same tyres, the heavier car will most often take longer to slow down. This is especially true when driving on wintry roads that may be covered in ice and snow. Drivers of electric vehicles should increase distances between the car in front of them and give themselves a longer distance and more time to stop. Of course, driving on some of the best winter tyres for electric cars, like the MICHELIN® X-Ice SNOW tyre, which are designed to improve stopping distances, should help.

Electric vehicles also have a lot of torque, so it’s easy to spin the tyres. Accelerating smoothly and managing the steering wheel smoothly will help you keep the car under control. Aggressive movements will increase the chances of your tyres sliding. To maintain or even elevate your confidence in driving EV vehicles in the winter, you should practice and master smooth acceleration and steering.

Most of the time, electric cars have different regenerative braking (regen) possibilities. When you lift the accelerator, it can slow down more quickly and the battery will recharge faster, or slow down more smoothly and the battery will not recharge as quickly. When you choose the more aggressive regen mode, it acts a little like the brakes. When the conditions are slippery, this could cause a loss of control if you slow down too abruptly. This is especially important to consider when you’re going around a bend or corner. You should always slow down gradually and do this while you are driving in a straight line.  Please read and view our safe driving winter tips for more details about breaking in a turn.

Where to go to service your winter tyres for electric cars?

It is recommended that you contact your tyre dealer to ensure that they have technicians that are EV experts and have the right equipment. Any MICHELIN dealer or the dealership where you have purchased your EV vehicle can all be viable options.

Encountering a flat tyre? Although fitting a spare one at home is possible, it’s easier, safer and much faster to have a professional take care of the change. Still, be sure you travel with the right emergency equipment.

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(1) External tests realized by DEKRA Test Center, on Michelin's request, on Volkswagen Golf VII in March and April 2018 in 225/40 R18 with CONTINENTAL WinterContact TS850P, DUNLOP WinterSport5, GOODYEAR UltraGrip Performance Gen 1, PIRELLI Winter SottoZero3 and Nokian WRA4 and external tests realized by DEKRA Test Center, on Michelin's request, on Volkswagen Passat in February and March 2019 in 235/45 R18 with CONTINENTAL WinterContact TS850P and CONTINENTAL WinterContact TS860S. Rolling resistance tests performed in 2018 by TÜV SÜD on 225/40 R18 92V XL, to compare MICHELIN Pilot Alpin 5 and MICHELIN Pilot Alpin 4 tyres and performed internally by Michelin on MICHELIN Pilot Alpin 5 tyre for R117 regulation.

(2) Snow and wet braking tests conducted by TÜV SÜD Product Service, on Michelin's request, December 2017-January 2018, on dimension 205/55 R16 91H on Volkswagen Golf 7 comparing MICHELIN Alpin 6 versus MICHELIN Alpin 5 tyre new and worn. Worn means worn on machine (buffed) to the depth of Tread Wear Indicator according to European regulation for Tread wear indicator ECE R30r03f. In any event, respect local legislation for winter tyres.

(3) Balance of performance - Balance of performance proven by tests conducted in 2020 and 2021 on Dry braking, Wet braking new and worn, Snow braking new and worn, Snow traction new and worn, rolling resistance, Longevity - see test details in legal mentions a, b, c, d, e, f - MICHELIN CrossClimate 2 grabs 6 leading positions out of 9 tests.

(a) - Snow braking test - Snow braking tests, conducted by TÜV SÜD Product Service on Michelin's request, between 30 and 10 kph, February 2021 (on new and 2mm buffed), on dimension 205/55 R16 94V XL on VW Golf 7 comparing  MICHELIN CrossClimate 2 (new : 100%-worn : 100%) versus MICHELIN CrossClimate + (new : 95%-worn : 88,1%) ; BRIDGESTONE Weather Control A005 EVO (new : 92,4% - worn : 70,9%) ; CONTINENTAL AllSeasonContact (new : 99,5% - worn : 96,4%) ; GOODYEAR Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 (new : 97,6% - worn : 94,1%) ; PIRELLI Cinturato All Season Plus (new : 81,9% - worn : 77,0%).

(b) - Snow traction test - Snow traction tests, conducted by TÜV SÜD Product Service on Michelin's request, February 2021 (on new and on 2mm buffed), on dimension 205/55 R16 94V XL on VW Golf 7 comparing  MICHELIN CrossClimate 2 (new : 100% - worn : 100%) versus MICHELIN CrossClimate + (new : 95,1% - worn : 87,5%) ; BRIDGESTONE Weather Control A005 EVO (new : 84,6% - worn : 65,2%) ; CONTINENTAL AllSeasonContact (new : 95,6% - worn : 91,9%) ; GOODYEAR Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 (new : 94,6% - worn : 90,6%) ; PIRELLI Cinturato All Season Plus (new : 72,0% - worn : 54,2%).

(c) - Wet braking test - Wet braking tests, conducted by TÜV SÜD Product Service on Michelin's request, between 80 and 20 kph, October 2020-April 2021 (worn means when worn on machine (buffed) to the depth of Tread Wear Indicator according to European regulation: ECE R30r03f), on dimension 205/55 R16 94V XL on VW Golf 7 comparing  MICHELIN CrossClimate 2 (new : 100% - worn : 100%) versus MICHELIN CrossClimate + (new : 98.2% - worn : 101.1%) ; BRIDGESTONE Weather Control A005 EVO (new : 103.2% - worn : 99.5%) ; CONTINENTAL AllSeasonContact (new : 94.9% - worn : 96.1%) ; GOODYEAR Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 (new : 95% - worn : 93.5%) ; PIRELLI Cinturato All Season Plus (new : 96.7% - worn : 89%).

(d) - Dry braking test - Dry braking tests, conducted by TÜV SÜD Product Service on Michelin's request, between 100 and 0 kph, February 2021, on dimension 205/55 R16 94V XL on VW Golf 7 comparing MICHELIN CrossClimate 2 (100%) versus MICHELIN CrossClimate + (96,2%) ; BRIDGESTONE Weather Control A005 EVO (98,1%) ; CONTINENTAL AllSeasonContact (92,4%) ; GOODYEAR Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 (89,9%) ; PIRELLI Cinturato All Season Plus (89,4%).​​

(e) - Longevity - Longevity test conducted by DEKRA TEST CENTER, on Michelin's request, December 2020, on dimension 205/55 R16 94V XL on VW Golf 7 comparing MICHELIN CrossClimate 2 (100%) ; CONTINENTAL AllSeasonContact (100,8%) and GOODYEAR Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 (108,4%) ; BRIDGESTONE Weather Control A005 EVO (69,7%) ; PIRELLI Cinturato All Season Plus (96,9%). Longevity test run in average real usage (D50) with 14.460 km run and extrapolated longevity at 1.6mm.

(f) - Rolling Resistance - Rolling Resistance tests conducted on machine by Applus Idiada, on Michelin's request, August 2020, on dimension 205/55 R16 94V XL, comparing MICHELIN CrossClimate 2 (7,30 kg/t) versus MICHELIN CrossClimate + (8,20 kg/t) Eco-responsible driving depends notably on driving habits, vehicle or tyre pressure.

Results may vary according to road and weather conditions.

(4) Based on internal studies done in Ladoux technology center (Clermont-Ferrand) by Michelin between August 2016 and November 2017, on 205/55R16 X-Ice North 3 and 205/55R16 X-Ice North 4 tyres.

(5) 9% reduction of rolling resistance based on internal studies conducted at the Ladoux Technology Center (in Clermont-Ferrand, France) between August 2019 and January 2020, comparing the MICHELIN X-Ice SNOW tyre versus MICHELIN X-ICE Xi3 in tyre size 195/65R15 using method ISO 28580 at 50 mi/h (80km/h).

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