How Wheels Affect Electric Vehicle Efficiency and Range

by Guest Contributor

Do wheels affect an electric vehicle’s range and efficiency? Well, yes it does. How then do you maximize vehicle efficiency? If you’re looking for a wheel and tire package, how do you select the package that is best for your vehicle? Find your answers here.

All tires perform the same function: mitigate shocks, vehicle acceleration, steering, and braking. However, not all tires perform these functions equally. The difference in performance results in the disparity of efficiency. The general term used to express this disparity is “rolling resistance”.

The rolling resistance, simply put, is the force that impedes motion. Researchers say, the lower the rolling resistance, the higher the efficiency. Several factors cause rolling resistance but a majority of these factors, such as road quality is, not within your control. However, two major factors are within your control. They are: tire quality and wheel size.

Tire quality is judged based on the tire treading and the material from which the tire is made. The composition of the tire, especially those made using silica or a mixture of synthetic rubber can reduce rolling resistance to a great extent. Also, research shows that about 30% to 50% of rolling resistance comes from the tire tread. A tire is more efficient when its tread is shallow.

The next big factor to resistance is wheel size. Good advice on wheels size is not as definite as saying; it is best to get a small-sized wheel or a large-sized wheel. Both have their advantages as well as its disadvantages. For example, less power is needed to get a smaller wheel into motion. Therefore, in areas with stop-start traffic, it is best to get a small-sized wheel. However, when in motion, the vehicle’s motor works harder to cover as much distance as a large wheel. This means larger wheels have more efficiency than smaller wheels when in motion. A real world example of this can be seen when you try to configure a Tesla Model X Performance.

When you go to select the larger 22-inch wheels instead of the other two wheels which are only 20-inches, Tesla informs you that your range will suffer.

It seems this issue of efficiency is getting complicated but don’t worry. Simply understand that the maximizing of efficiency is not a function of buying a big or small wheel size. If you are looking to enhance efficiency, make sure you purchase a wheel and tire package that fits your vehicle. If you are looking for a wheel and tire package, here is how to choose one that is just right for your vehicle.

Wheel and Tire Packages: Choosing Right

There are several tires, wheels, and rims packages from different top-ranking brands. The question is; how can you be sure you are getting the wheel and tire package that will make your vehicle perform at its best? Check out our 4 step guide to ensure you get the best wheel and tire package:

  1. Know what vehicle you drive: You might know the vehicle you drive by name but, do you know every detail about your vehicle? You need to know the details such as the year of manufacture, make, model, body type, and engine type. This is the first step to a great deal.
  2. Choose what wheel you want: Next, choose the wheel that is best for your vehicle. Know that you do not need a wheel size that is too big or too small. You need wheels that are just right for your vehicle. To make this choice, you should search out wheel diameters that are commonly used for your vehicle.
  3. Narrow your result: You are likely going to find several wheel patterns and tire types that are of the diameter commonly used for your vehicle. Narrow down your option to the pattern you most prefer.
  4. Select your custom package: The next step is to select a nice finishing from the seller’s option. Some sellers offer other forms of incentives such as high-speed balancing, security lugs, and locks, etc.

Conclusion

To overcome rolling resistance and get maximum efficiency, ensure that your tires are properly inflated. According to researchers, a tire that is 20% deflated below normal can cause about 10% rolling resistance.

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