Michelin’s high-performance tires for electric vehicles have finally gone on sale in Taiwan. The latest addition to the Pilot Sport lineup is specifically designed for EVs with an emphasis on range improvement, high performance and even durability. What kind of cutting-edge technology is behind these tires, and how much do they cost?
In response to the increasing penetration of EVs, tire manufacturers are scrambling to develop EV-specific tires. Notably, EVs are typically heavier and have greater torque than their fossil fuel counterparts. In addition, since they lack engine noise, drivers are more sensitive to tire noise. Most importantly, tire rolling resistance can affect the most critical aspect of an EV: its range.
As emphasized when it was first launched globally last year, the Pilot Sport EV tire not only provides excellent handling for high-performance EVs but improves range by up to 60 km, according to official tests. With a design that includes a sound-absorbing foam, tire noise is reduced by 20%. It’s safe to say that this tire is a godsend for electric car owners.
▲Looking similar to its PS counterparts, the Pilot Sport EV tire comes with a dual rubber composition
Aside from these marketing claims, the core technology behind the Pilot Sport EV tire is actually in the material. Drawing on its experience in the Formula E electric racing series, Michelin developed a high-rigidity rubber composition applied to the central tread of the tire, while a rubber composition with low rolling resistance is used on the sides, allowing the tire to fit heavier vehicles without sacrificing rolling resistance.
By reducing rolling resistance and adopting energy-saving tire layers, the tire manufacturer has made the EV tire lighter, offering reduced energy consumption and higher range for vehicles. In addition, the Maxtouch technology ensures a more uniform contact patch with the ground, thereby enhancing tire grip. With so much technology and so many benefits, it’s no wonder that car owners need to check their wallets before purchasing these tires.
Before it became officially available in Taiwan, the EV tire had already costed more than NT$10,000 in the grey market. On May 5, Michelin announced the list prices for its Pilot Sport EV tires, as shown in the table below:
▲ List prices of the Pilot Sport EV tires in Taiwan (Credit: Michelin Taiwan)
Specifically, the most popular Tesla Model Y on the market comes with 255/45R19 tires for standard specifications, priced at NT$9,850 per tire. As for the Performance version with 21-inch wheels, the front tires (255/35R21) cost NT$15,900 per tire, compared to NT$16,800 for the rear tires.
For those who want high-performance tires without sacrificing range, the Pilot Sport EV tire might be worth considering. Although they come with a high price tag, car owners can afford to indulge in these slightly more expensive tires without much pain considering the maintenance, fuel, and tax savings that electric cars provide.
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