Extending the range of a battery electric car by up to 50 kilometres could be as simple as changing tyres.

    Michelin claims its latest electric car tyres, thanks to their low-rolling resistance, can add as much as 50 kilometres of extra range to a single charge.

    “If you take a specific EV tyre you will increase your battery range by 30 to 50 kilometres, which is not bad,” a senior vice-president at Michelin, Bruno De Feraudy, told CarExpert at the company’s research-and-development base at Clermont Ferrand in France.

    “Tyres are playing an even more crucial role with the electrification of vehicles. Michelin is a company that likes almost-impossible challenges.

    “That’s why we’ve launched a new range of products which are E Primacy. They are a range which are specifically tuned for electric vehicles. You have to improve the rolling resistance became it’s a way to protect the battery.”

    Apart from range, De Feraudy said development of tyres for the electric car world raised new challenges including coping with extra vehicle weight, the challenge of high-torque performance from a standing start, and reducing cabin noise.

    “We are still pushing the compromise a bit further,” he told CarExpert.

    “We have to compensate for the torque load, which is terrible. And you have to reduce the noise, because a big part of the noise is coming from the road.”

    De Feraudy said Michelin had been concentrating on range-extender tyres with lower rolling resistance for the past five years, but was unsure how much more progress would come in the next five.

    “We will reduce the rolling resistance. But what is the target? I don’t know. There is a limit. There is a limit because you cannot have zero resistance.

    “Then you have no grip, you will go straight and you will never stop the car. It would be like driving on ice.”

    According to De Feraudy, Michelin’s engineers are continuously developing 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 solutions which are out of your mind. But with some time and with some cash 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 the car [with the E Premacy], which is a huge improvement.

    “It is a change of paradigm with the battery car. Just by changing the construction of the tyre.”

    While De Feraudy is highlighting the improvements, he said Michelin is nowhere near the end game for EV tyres.

    “So, where is the limit? Nobody knows. But there are still a lot of things to do to improve the tyres.”

    Paul Gover

    Paul Gover is one of the most experienced and respected motoring journalists in Australia. After more than 40 years on the automotive beat there is nothing he has not done, yet he still brings the enthusiasm of a rookie. He has worked in print, digital, radio, television and for every major publisher in the country. He is also a national motor racing champion and once co-drove with Peter Brock at Bathurst.

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