The number of electric cars is estimated to rise to around 2.8 million registered vehicles by 2020. That being said, the demand for electric vehicles is growing day by day, and it’s not a big surprise that more and more tyre manufacturers are joining the race to develop new-age electric car tyres.
The new ‘green revolution’ of our times is gaining more and more spotlight. Since we all know that tyres are one of the biggest waste hazards around, e-tyres created especially for electric vehicles might be the next responsible thing for all major tyre manufacturers.
You’re probably asking yourselves what makes these tyres so special? To understand that, we first need to understand the basics of technology behind electric cars.
Electric Vehicles 101
The environmental turmoil in the last decades has spurred the development of vehicles that would decrease the carbon footprint of the automotive industry. Unlike standard vehicles which are powered by diesel, petrol, LPG and similar oil derivatives, working mostly on the principles of internal combustion (thus producing greenhouse gases), electric cars are propelled by an electric motor. They are powered either from an on-board electrical generator or from an external power station. What’s even better – power for electric vehicles comes mostly from renewable energy such as solar, wind and hydro energy, but sometimes even fossil fuels. Even then, carbon emissions are significantly lower for electric vehicles when compared to the average vehicles.
What Makes EV Tyres Special?
One of the key differences between electrical and standard vehicles you might have already guessed is the difference in speed. Since the speed is lower, there is also less friction and the higher need for longer operation and rolling capabilities.
Compared to standard, conventional vehicles, tyres for electrical vehicles need to have a substantially lower rolling resistance – sometimes even 30% lower than what is required for conventional vehicles. For that reason, tyres made for electric vehicles have a narrower shape and wider diameter to reduce rolling resistance. A larger diameter further reduces the quantity of rubber application on the tread, which also decreases the chance of damaging and deforming the tread. Furthermore, a wider tyre also means less rotations, lower energy consumption, and a capacity to take similar loads as conventional tyres.
The tread compound and tread design boost the tyre grip and are meant to improve the mileage, especially on dry surfaces. Last, but not least, to support directional stability and handling, different tread variants are used, especially for the front and rear axle.
While primarily intended for electric vehicles, these tyres consume much less energy even when running on high speeds. Thus, these tyres are considered more eco-friendly than their counterparts and further improve the lifespan of each individual tyre.
It is also important to notice that these tyres aren’t made from any particularly special rubber compound so, at the end of their life cycle, you can dispose them and recycle them absolutely the same as you would any other tyre. Or, since this is all about innovation, you could maybe even use them to refurbish your backyard (see this blog post for more info) and soak in the Sun. Like your car.
Innovation Never Ends
To address one of the biggest concerns of electric car users, the battery life, researchers are working on a solution that might completely change the way we look at electric tyres. This concept states that instead of powering electric vehicles through batteries or via overhead lines (like trams or electrical buses), electricity could be transmitted directly from the roads they are driving on. The idea is to lay wireless power transmitters directly on the road that will power the car batteries through the steel belts in the tyres.
Tests conducted have shown that the energy transfer via these steel belts was as efficient as the traditional method of charging a lithium ion battery. Surprising as it may sound, these are the technologies of today that will propel the electric tyre manufacturing of tomorrow. And electric car tyres will become truly ‘electrifying’.