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Electric vehicles are driving change in the tire industry

By Entrepreneur-ის გუნდი

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Automotive has always been a fast-evolving and forward-thinking sector with a strong focus on embracing new technologies and developing innovative solutions in order to respond and adapt to changing customer demands and take advantage of new market opportunities. The emergence of electric vehicles provides one of the most eloquent examples in this respect.

Boasting a range of benefits, including lower running and maintenance costs, reduced emissions and improved performance, battery-powered cars have been gaining more popularity and market share over the last decade. According to recent statistics, worldwide electric car sales increased by almost 60% in 2022, while combustion-vehicle sales declined by nearly 20% in the past five years. What's more, an increasing number of automakers intend to gradually expand their EV fleets in the near future, with some of them announcing they plan to go all-electric at some point.

It's obvious that the transition to electric vehicles is well on its way and there's nothing that can stop it. But the transformations entailed by the EV revolution might not be as obvious at first glance. In general, the focus falls on aspects such as battery life, engine performance and environmental implications. However, the prevalence of EVs changes more than the way cars are being powered. The tires are also directly affected by the shift, bringing new challenges for manufacturers, dealers and customers alike.

The rise of the EV

Although electric vehicles have only started to gain traction in recent years, they're far from being a new invention. Their history dates back to the 19Th century, with the first successful electric-powered vehicles hitting the road around the 1890s. However, the poor performance of these initial EV models caused them to lag far behind gasoline-powered cars for over a century.

But then, as EV technology advanced, introducing lightweight high-capacity batteries, faster charging times, and better public charging infrastructure, automakers were able to increase the performance and cost-effectiveness of the electrical vehicles they produced, and thus the popularity of electric mobility started to increase. The rising fuel costs and consumers' growing interest in using clean energy and reducing the negative impact of human activity on the environment have also contributed to the acceleration of EV adoption across the world.

If in the early 2010s, the annual global sales of electric vehicles hovered around 130,000, now this number is reached in only one week. At the moment, there are an estimated 16 million electric cars on roads all over the world, and as the demand for EVs continues to rise, sales are expected to increase to 73 million units by 2040.

While EVs have been praised for their eco-friendliness, cost and energy efficiency and performance, as with any innovation, they have also experienced a fair share of criticism and controversy. Limitations regarding driving range, battery lifespan and recharging infrastructure, as well as concerns related to purchasing costs and the environmental impact stemming from the production of lithium-ion batteries and the electric energy they consume are generally regarded as the biggest disadvantages of EVs.

The impact on the tire industry

Since electric vehicles are here to stay, both manufacturers and consumers need to be aware of the changes and challenges they entail. Therefore, the impact they have on the tire industry is a very important topic to address. As tire experts at NeoTires, choosing the perfect set of tires for your car is crucial for ensuring safety and optimum performance, and EVs make no exception. But what does that mean exactly?

When it comes to EVs, their high levels of torque and instant acceleration make them highly appealing for drivers, but that also puts extra pressure on the tires, affecting their longevity and performance. It is estimated that standard tires installed on an EV wear 30% faster than those used on a combustion-engine car. Then there's the extra weight that EVs carry as their batteries and motors are making them heavier. This also contributes to the rapid wear and tear of their tires. Since longevity represents a major issue and EV drivers will have to change their tire sets more frequently, the demand for tires is bound to increase in the future. This could put extra pressure on manufacturers who might find it difficult to keep up with the rising demand.

Even if manufacturers manage to ramp up their production process and adapt to the needs of the market, there's an even bigger obstacle they'll have to face: producing EV-specific tires. While standard tires can be used on EVs safely, they don't exactly match their requirements. Apart from more torque and weight, electric cars also tend to have a lower profile and a wider design, which means they need different types of tires that can help with stability and traction. This means tire manufacturers will have to rethink their operations in order to accommodate the production of EV-specialized tires.

EV owners will also have to get educated on this topic and learn how to best maintain the tires on their elective vehicles. Given that using low-tread and worn tires represents a major safety risk, it's extremely important for drivers to know when they have to change or service their tires. Tire dealers will have to step in by providing customers with specialized tools and services such as tire tread scanners which can help drivers verify the health of their tires.

Last but not least, the financial implications also need to be taken into consideration. Car tires represent quite a hefty investment, which means customers have to make sure they are spending their money wisely when buying a new set of tires. The rise of EVs and EV-specific tires makes the purchasing process even more complicated than before. But once again, modern technology can come to tire dealers' aid with the introduction of tire scanning apps. These tools can make it easier for car owners to find the right tires for their vehicles, while also helping tire retailers to gain valuable insight into their customer's driving habits, so they can tailor their offerings around their specific needs.

Keeping your vehicle in good shape is essential to keeping you and your family safe on the road.

EVs are changing the automotive sector in more ways than we can imagine and the tire industry is also feeling the effects of the electric revolution. Therefore, it's necessary for tire companies to stay on top of these changing trends by adjusting and expanding their operations and investing in adequate tech solutions.

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