Does an electric car need a special type of tire? German tire maker Continental AG seems to think so, or at least that British buyers think so. It recently introduced the Conti.eContact, which features new dimensions optimized for EVs, to the UK market.
According to the company, “the Conti.eContact has a larger outer diameter, such as 195/55R20 instead of a traditional 205/55R16. This concept results in substantially reduced rolling resistance. A more flexible sidewall helps result in less energy loss when deflecting or rebounding. Wide circumferential grooves, optimized tread depth, a flat contour and smooth off-shoulder design result in an extremely efficient and durable tire for the electric vehicle market.”
Perhaps the most important feature is the unique sidewall lettering, featuring the logo BLUECO, which is “aimed at connoting a series of innovative tire technologies especially designed for the needs of electric vehicles.”
We don’t claim to be tire experts, but wouldn’t “reduced rolling resistance” be a benefit for any vehicle, regardless of how it’s powered? And, as most EVs, including the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which seems likely to be the UK’s top EV in 2012, share their dimensions with a related gas-powered model, do they need special tire sizes?
Perhaps they do, and we’re sure that more details will emerge. In any case, we consider this a positive development. The fact that companies are rolling out special products aimed at EV drivers (look for EV-optimized stereo systems, cleaning products and fuzzy dice soon) shows that electric vehicles are now considered part of the mainstream market, and no passing fad.