Hybrid and electric car engineers go to great efforts to maximize the efficiency of drivetrains, components and vehicle design. What’s less known is that they require tire makers to create customized tunings of tires for specific vehicles. Putting the right tire on an efficient alternative vehicle could have a whopping 10 percent effect on overall efficiency.
Beyond efficiency, tire companies are required to match specifications from automakers regarding rolling resistance, traction, handling, ride quality, and noise level. For example, the same tire provided on both the 2010 Toyota Prius and 2011 Chevy Volt are really not the same. “While the name on the sidewall says Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max for the Toyota Prius, it very well may be a very different tune on the Fuel Max used on the Chevy Volt,” said Woody Rogers, product information specialist, at Tirerack.com. And the entire engineering community is still figuring out what tire will best serve the twisting torque of electric cars, without prematurely wearing down the tire.
In an audio interview, Woody provides an overview on tire efficiency, and talks about the tires offered on the Prius, Volt and Nissan LEAF.