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Michelin Product Managers Explain Why You Don’t Need EV-Specific Tires

One of the most trusted brands in tires is Michelin. In this story, we let Michelin product managers explain why you do not need to select electric vehicle-specific tires for your EV.

One topic that has a lot of EV fans and skeptics alike worked into a lather is tires. EV owners point out that many “normal” tires work quite well on their EVs and provide long life. EV skeptics like to grasp any straw they can that casts EVs in a negative light and try to make the case that EVs eat tires in a very short timeframe. We’ve done our best to separate the opinions and anecdotes from the facts at Torque News, but the camps seem pretty firmly entrenched. Here are a couple of stories we’ve done related to this topic:

How Much Heavier Are Electric Vehicles? Here Are the Facts

Tire Biz Expert Reports EV Owners Suffer Sticker Shock Syndrome

Twelve Electric Vehicles You Can Buy With a Spare Tire In 2024

Electric Vehicles' Tire Cost Will Negate Maintenance Savings vs. ICE

Some pertinent EV facts that few refute include the following:

  1. Electric vehicles are generally heavier than similarly sized and shaped vehicles with conventional powertrains.
  2. EVs offer more torque in a different (better) delivery profile than most conventionally powered vehicles.
  3. EVs are quieter inside the cabin than conventional cars. 
  4. Range and efficiency are important to many or most EV owners. 
  5. Most EV models do not have spare tires.

These facts all relate to how one might select a tire for an electric vehicle. Every tire manufacturer now offers tires that maximize efficiency and are built to handle a heavier load rating than tires of the past. However, many shoppers of non-EVs also want good fuel economy, and many do buy heavy vehicles. EVs are not unique in these ways.

Michelin EV tire image by John Goreham

Torque News tests tires from many brands, and we have a direct relationship with people at Michelin (and their media PR people). The company offers us excellent support. It helps us to deliver accurate, timely information to our readers. Michelin reached out to us with the idea for this story. Their intent being to dispel the myth that EV owners must purchase EV-specific tire models. 

EV tire image courtesy of Michelin

Michelin claims that 8 out of 10 manufacturers of EVs “Prefer Michelin Tires.” We respect Michelin’s opinion on this because we’ve heard that same statement from tire retailers and trusted mobile tire service providers. It is no secret that Michelin is a trusted tire brand among vehicle owners, manufacturers, and retailers. 

What Michelin offered us was more than just its opinion on its own trustworthiness. It offered to go on the record to dispel the myth that EV owners must buy EV-specific tire models. Here are some direct quotes from Michelin's product managers. 

- “At Michelin, we don’t carry ‘EV Specific’ lines. All the latest generation Michelin tires are ‘EV Ready.’ The qualities the EV manufacturers and consumers look for – long wear, noise reduction, low rolling resistance – are all qualities Michelin has been proactively building into our tires all along.”

- “EVs place more demands on a combination of tire wear, noise, and efficiency. Michelin tires are designed with a ‘Total Performance’ approach of improving each of these key performances without sacrificing other attributes like dry or wet traction.”

- “To reduce tire wear caused by torque and regenerative braking, Michelin tires use a robust design combining a strong carcass using advanced materials like aramid or hybrid aramid construction, and the latest generation of rubber compounds which are more rigid and highly efficient.”

- “Michelin has been a pioneer in low-rolling resistance technology for over two decades. Michelin technology, first introduced in 1992, has reduced rolling resistance significantly since the first pneumatic tire was introduced. Thanks to continuing advancements in rolling resistance technology, if you put the most efficient Michelin tires on an EV, you could expect to add up to 40 miles of additional range.”

As you can see from these comments by Michelin employees, Michelin believes that if you and your installer select a tire based on the manufacturer’s recommended size and choose one with the correct load rating, you should be fine. However, there are more tire considerations than just size and load. What about special features?

Michelin, like many manufacturers, offers tires with some special abilities. For example, the Chevy Bolt came standard with Michelin SelfSeal tires. These tires can help you get home or to a tire shop if you suffer a punctured tire. It’s an excellent feature for many EV sedans, hatchbacks, and crossovers since almost none come with a spare tire.

We respect the opinion of the product manager, who said that Michelin tires are designed in a way that does not “...sacrifice other attributes like dry or wet traction.” While in context that may be true, winter-rated tires are designed quite a bit differently than summer-only tires. So dry and wet traction are most definitely sacrificed in some tire designs vs. others. 

One aspect of EVs is that they are quieter than traditionally powered vehicles. There is simply less powertrain noise. While this is great, it amplifies tire and road noise in the (silent) cabin. To offset this, many EV manufacturers, particularly Tesla, opt to use acoustic technology in tires. That’s a fancy way of saying they have foam inside that makes them dampen out sound. While this technology is also used on luxury cars, it is commonplace with EVs. 

Finally, although many folks, ourselves included, refer to EVs as a segment or a thing, EVs are really just vehicles equipped with electric powertrains. There are all manner of EVs on sale today. A Chevy Bolt is a subcompact hatchback designed with city driving in mind. The GMC Hummer is a massive pickup truck designed to crabwalk its way around boulders. Of course, they use dramatically different types of tires. The same is true of the Tesla Cybertruck and Model 3 Performance. There are many different types of tires available for many different types of EVs.

We hope this story has helped to clear up  the misconception that EV owners need to limit themselves to specific tire models marketed as “EV Tires.” The truth is there are endless selections of tire models that with work well with a huge variety of electric powertrain-equipped vehicles. Work with your tire retailer to choose the best one for your particular needs. 

Image of Michelin SelfSeal tire on Chevy Bolt EV by John Goreham. Image of low-profile tire on Volvo EV courtesy of Michelin. 

If you'd like to add a comment under this story, please note that our comments section has returned and is in bold red at the bottom of the page.

John Goreham is an experienced New England Motor Press Association member and expert vehicle tester. John completed an engineering program with a focus on electric vehicles, followed by two decades of work in high-tech, biopharma, and the automotive supply chain before becoming a news contributor. In addition to his eleven years of work at Torque News, John has published thousands of articles and reviews at American news outlets. He is known for offering unfiltered opinions on vehicle topics. You can connect with John on Linkedin and follow his work at our X channel. Please note that stories carrying John's by-line are never AI-generated, but he does employ Grammarly grammar and punctuation software when proofreading. 


Gary (not verified)    May 25, 2024 - 4:30PM

It is mentioned that Michelin does not have EV specific tires, then how does Michelin explain the Pilot Sport EV when EV is in its name?

Brandon (not verified)    June 1, 2024 - 8:08AM

In reply to by Gary (not verified)

Michelin does have EV tires as you described. Their comment is that you can use all of their tires on EV's - the article should have stated "as long as the load and speed rating meet the vehicles requurements". The Michelin "EV" tires will have some of the described elements not available in all their tires - the foam insert for example to lower noise. The article should have also more clearly pointed out that the "regular" Michelin tires will not provide optimum performance for high torque and heavy EV's when compared to some other manufacturer options that do have those features....this would have assisted knowledge without being a Michelin PR article.

Bob F. (not verified)    June 3, 2024 - 5:22AM

That is true they do not need special tires. We bought $120 Goodyear tires at Walmart for our AWD Ioniq 5 and they are great. Still low noise and low rolling resistance but without the EV markup. And the thing about EV tires wearing out fast is also not true since we got 53k miles out of original set. I've seen many gas cars and SUVs need tires by 40k.