Winter weather makes driving more challenging. It’s crucial for safety to ensure that EVs have on winter tires, says Sailun Tire
As winter draws near, drivers begin to contemplate how they’ll navigate the icy and snowy road conditions.
For Canadians who drive vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE), it’s a simple adjustment: put on your winter tires from last year or choose new ones from the array of options available in the market.
But electric vehicles drivers may find themselves in unfamiliar territory with wondering where they may find appropriate winter tires for their EV or even questioning whether their EV even needs winter tires.
“When coupled with suitable winter tires, electric vehicles can prove to be highly capable in snowy conditions. Their stability on slippery surfaces benefits from the substantial weight of the battery pack, ensuring a low center of gravity,” says Jamie McIntyre, vice president of sales for Canada.
“The inclusion of All-Wheel Drive (AWD) alternatives in many EV models further augments their traction and stability, establishing them as a strong contender for winter driving.”
Sailun Tire is a tire manufacturer with a line-up of Erange EV all-season tires. But it’s important to note that all-season are not the same as winter tires.
Here is what drivers need to know about the distinctive characteristics and requirements of electric vehicles when it comes to safe winter driving.
Why do EVs need winter tires?
In Sailun’s opinion, every vehicle in Canada — ICE or EV — needs winter tires.
But electric vehicles have some unique characteristics that make selecting the right winter tires crucial.
Unlike traditional gas-powered vehicles, EVs come with battery packs that significantly increase their weight. This added weight does provide better stability on icy roads compared to traditional ICE vehicles and can make it tempting not to put on winters.
And, don’t forget, the added weight also means an EV’s tires must be capable of stopping and pulling the extra weight in slippery conditions.
EVs also deliver instant torque, which causes rapid shifts in weight distribution. This puts more stress on the tires and leads to increased wear and tear, but also means traction in winter is crucial so the vehicle doesn’t spin out.
Finally, EVs are quieter than an ICE vehicle. This makes road noise more apparent (cue ambient slushy winter noise). Customer expectation is a to be able to use tires that don’t add cabin noise — without compromising performance.
What winter tires should I choose?
EVs do have some inherent advantages in winter driving. However, these advantages should not be seen as a substitute for dedicated winter tires.
Why is this?
First, in temperatures below seven degrees Celsius, the rubber in non-winter tires can become as rigid as a hockey puck.
“EV owners all season tire priorities of quiet ride, grip, and tread life should differ to those of their winter tire counterparts. Of course traction, braking, acceleration and handling are the priority, while still ensuring acceptable tread life,” says Jack McClure, PLT Product Segment Manager at Sailun.
“Cabin noise during the winter season will increase regardless due to the slush, snow and ice crunching under your tires. EV owners may even wear the same badge of honour as some combustion vehicles with “steelies” on showing that they have a winter tire and wheel package and love their vehicle (plus the people and pets in it).”
So, what should you do?
Until the market matures Sailun recommends finding a set of tires with key features.
“Look for fully siped 3 peak mountain snowflake (PMS) winter tires. These should have an equivalent or higher load index for your vehicle (information that’s found on the drivers side door jamb),” advises McClure.
“You can also decide if you prefer to stud your winter tire — if your region permits it and if you don’t mind the extra noise from the studs.”
During winter, putting EV-specific all-seasons on an EV is not a perfect solution, to enjoy the winter season the need for safety is too important without dedicated winter tires.
“No matter what you drive — EV or combustion vehicle — winter tires are always the right choice,” says McClure.
“Dry roads in cold weather can be slippery and winter tires have special rubber compounds to remain flexible in temperatures below seven degrees. For many Canadians that is mid-October to April. Having a well siped winter tire, with the correct Load Index for your vehicle is not just the right choice — it is the smart choice.”