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Battery-Electric Vehicle Owners Filling Social Media With Flat Tire Woes

Owners of battery-electric vehicles are discovering the hard way that vehicle makers are stealing their spare. Here’s what you can do about it if you want to go green.


Carmakers are slowly but surely nibbling away at the models in which they provide a spare. First, it was the performance vehicles. After all, every ounce counts when your goal is a fast 0-100 MPH time printed in an enthusiast publication to impress your friends. Next is was the green trims of popular models. For example, if you buy a CR-V with its conventional powertrain it will have a spare, but if you opt for the CR-V Hybrid, no such luck.

Related Story: Shopping Guide 2021 – Why You Should Demand A Spare Tire With Your New Vehicle

The owner of the Volkswagen ID.4 shown above discovered the lack of a spare tire the hard way with just 700 miles on the odometer. The owner reports that “It happened instantly and the TPMS light never came on.” Does that tire problem look like a can of gunk in the trunk will be enough to deal with the issue? What must it feel like to stand on the side of the highway with your family watching your car being towed away simply because you lacked a spare tire? Something that has been a standard safety feature in almost every vehicle for a century.

Spares Still Found In Some EVs
Not every green vehicle lacks a spare tire. The Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle is one of the fastest-selling and highest-volume SUV crossovers with a plug. It earns a 94 MPGe rating, higher than some battery-electric vehicles. Toyota puts a spare tire into every RAV4 Prime it delivers in America. The Hybrid trim of the RAV4 also has a spare. Toyota sold about 10,000 of these two green trims of the RAV4 in June alone. During the writing of this story, we took a look at the inventory of the Toyota dealer near us in Dedham Mass. There were four Primes and one Hybrid unsold on the lot for immediate delivery. What is the current backlog for a battery-electric vehicle from your favorite brand?

Vehicles With a Full-Size Spare
We often point out the missing spare in our reviews of models we test. We also highlight the full-size spares when we see them. The last Subaru Outback and Ford Bronco Sport we tested both had spare tires. And not just compact temporary spares. Each had a full-size matching spare tire. Popular vehicles with real spares are out there if you look.

How To Add A Spare Tire
So what can you do if your manufacturer steals your spare tire and you must have that exact model? Modern Spare is presently doing a booming business. When we spoke to the owners of this spare tire solution provider they were hard at work expanding their portfolio of models for which they can provide a spare.

If you think a spare is just a waste of space and money, consider two facts. First, during COVID, AAA stopped allowing stranded motorists a ride to safety in the tow truck’s cab with the driver. Second, the number of flat tires each year in America is as large as the number of vehicles on the road.

If you want to fact-check this story’s premise that social media is abuzz on this topic, simply join a facebook club for your favorite battery-electric vehicle. After you are approved for membership, insert “Spare Tire” or “Flat Tire” in the search bar.

Tell us in the comments below if you would prefer to have a compact spare in your vehicle or not? We’d love to hear your viewpoint.

Our thanks to Ian Perry for sharing his flat tire story and image.

John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's interest in EVs goes back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an EV battery as part of an academic team. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin


Todd Stewart (not verified)    July 20, 2021 - 6:54PM

Won't buy a vehicle without a spare tire, I used to live in a remote area and carried 2 spares at one time, I guess electric vehicles are for cities only still

DAVID HOFFMAN (not verified)    July 21, 2021 - 8:18AM

In reply to by Todd Stewart (not verified)

Dealing with no spare in a 2011 Ford Edge Sport AWD. The miniature doughnut tire spare that I could buy would mess up the AWD in just a few hundred metres. I am looking to get a 225/75R17 as a spare for 265/40R22s. That gives 30.3 inch diameter for both sizes, which should keep the AWD reasonably safe from damage.