Extending the range of a battery electric car up to 50 kilometers is as easy as changing a tire.
Michelin claims its latest electric car tire, thanks to its low rolling resistance, can add as much as 50 kilometers of extra range to a single charge.
“If you take certain EV tires, you will increase your battery range by 30 to 50 kilometers, that’s not bad,” said senior vice president at Michelin, Bruno De Feraudy, told Car Expert at the company’s research and development base in Clermont Ferrand in France.
“Tires play a more important role with the electrification of vehicles. Michelin is a company that loves an almost impossible challenge.
“That is why we have launched a new product range called E Primacy. It is a network tuned specifically for electric vehicles. You have to increase the rolling resistance as a way to protect the battery.”
Apart from the range, De Feraudy said tire development for the world of electric cars poses new challenges including overcoming the additional weight of the vehicle, the challenge of high torque performance from a standing start, and reducing cabin noise.
“We are still rejecting compromise a little more,” he said Car Expert.
“We have to balance the torque load, which is terrible. And you have to reduce the noise, because most of it comes from the road.”
De Feraudy said Michelin had focused on long-distance tires with lower rolling resistance over the past five years, but was unsure how much more progress would be made in the next five years.
“We will reduce rolling resistance. But what is the target? I do not know. There is a limit. There is a limit because you cannot have zero resistance.
“Then you have no grip, you go straight and you don’t stop the car. It’s like driving on ice.”
According to De Feraudy, Michelin engineers continue to develop new solutions for the EV world.
“You will meet some engineers and sometimes you have to pull them down, because they will come up with a solution that nobody can believe.
“Sometimes it creates a solution that is beyond your mind. But with a little time and with a little money it works. So you can really change the paradigm. With the battery you add from 300 to 700 kilograms. Now we can carry an additional 300 kilos on top of the car [with the E Premacy]which is a huge improvement.
“It’s a paradigm shift with battery cars. Just by changing the tire construction.”
While De Feraudy highlighted the improvements, he said Michelin is no longer in the final stages for EV tires.
“So, where is the limit? No one knows. But there is still a lot to do to improve the tire.”