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Tire Rolling Resistance

June 2nd, 2016 · 7 Comments

What an exciting topic! 😉

I had to replace the tires on my Volt so I went to Costco to see what they recommended. They put me in a set of Michelin Premier tires. I know these are excellent tires, but they fail badly at one criteria that is very important to a Volt owner: Rolling Resistance.

I normally got around 40 miles of range on a full battery charge, on the old “OEM” tires. With the Michelin’s I was only getting about 32 miles, a 20% reduction in range! It was unacceptable, so I took them back, taking advantage of Costco’s 30-day return policy. They guy didn’t seem very happy about it, but he didn’t outright object, and it’s no money out of his pocket anyway. And I had told them when I bought them that I wanted low rolling resistance tires. I don’t think the guy really knew anything about that.

After some research, I replaced them with Bridgestone Ecopia Plus tires, especially designed with low rolling resistance for electric cars and hybrids.

Hooray! I hit 42 miles today, bettering even the original tires. It’s what Costco should have put me in to begin with.

They seem to handle just as well as the originals and the Michelins, and are maybe a little quieter. I’m happy!

I have to assume that tires have just as large an effect on gas mileage too. It’s surprising that rolling resistance isn’t a bigger factor in tire sales.

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7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dale // Jun 2, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Hard to believe there is that much difference in tires. I know proper inflation can give a percentage or two but never dreamed that rolling resistance was that much of a factor. I would like to know the science and technology behind rolling resistance.

  • 2 Daryl // Jun 2, 2016 at 4:45 pm

  • 3 Daryl // Jun 2, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    As I understand it, tire rolling resistance is a larger percent of the total energy loss for an electric car than for a gas engine car, because electric motors are much more efficient than gas engines. Therefore, decreasing the energy lost to the tires makes a bigger percent difference in range than a comparable decrease would make to MPG in a gas engine car.

  • 4 Dale // Jun 2, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    Glad the new tires are rolling easy, but they probably won’t be near as good in snow;)

  • 5 Don // Jun 4, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    I think it’s also a lot easier to see the difference when you are measuring watts used and left with so much precision like we do with electric cars.

    It’s like my trip to work typically takes 25% of my charge and on days where it takes 23% I feel good and when it take 27 %or 28% I feel like I was heavy footed.

    You never notice it on a gas gauge and you rarely keep that close track of it unless of course you are a little anal. 😉

  • 6 Donna // Jun 11, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Did you get the new tires from Costco, too?
    I think I need some low rolling resistance tires for my Minnie. Less than 8 MPG in her.

  • 7 Daryl // Jun 11, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    I bought them from Costco.

    I doubt that these tires are available in a size and weight rating for a Winnebago…

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