As fuel efficiency, climate change and gas prices become of significant importance to consumers, the adoption and interest in alternatively-fueled vehicles are increasing. While the electric vehicle (EV) market is relatively small today, it is expected to grow rapidly over the next decade in both the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) segments.
According to EVAdoption, BEVs represent approximately 3.4% of new vehicle sales and are projected to reach 30-50% of new US vehicle sales by 2030. Due to the continuing trend of consumers holding onto their vehicles longer, this equates to roughly 7-10% of the total U.S. vehicles in 2030.
With the EVAdoption projection of over 230 U.S. plug-in model vehicles available in 2026, now is the time for manufacturers and suppliers to prepare for and invest in EV technology and production. This paired with the introduction of a significant number of “affordable” EVs entering the marketplace, EVAdoption forecasts approximately 35 million EVs will be on the road in 2030.
During the tire product development process, manufacturers and suppliers take into account OEM models being released in the coming years along with macro trends impacting consumer values and expectations as they will shape the tire sizes and specs in the years ahead. For instance, with the projected growth of BEVs, tires must be specifically constructed and tested for electric cars, trucks and SUVs to meet their unique requirements or key performance parameters – torque, noise and range.
- Torque – BEVs are approximately 20% heavier than internal combustion engine vehicles, thus the tires must compliment the high instant acceleration and a heavier load of EVs.
- Noise – Without the roar of an engine, a requirement for EV tires is to produce an extremely quiet and comfortable ride that meet the highest standards of our consumers.
- Range – An optimal balance between the tread compound and tire size must be met to deliver lower rolling resistance EV tires which will increase the range of the electric charge.
Sustainability and environmental impacts have also become of increasing importance to consumers and as a direct result, EVs and autonomous or self-driving vehicles will become more commonplace. That said, mild autonomous systems like ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) in some form are already standard equipment on new vehicles today.
With an increased focus on green solutions, tire designs will also begin utilizing more environmentally friendly materials in production. And, looking forward, fleet vehicles will grow beyond the traditional rental car fleets to delivery services, ride-sharing, and others. These fleets will require tires that satisfy the demands of their rigorous work schedule while maximizing the life of the tire.
To prepare for emerging mobility trends and EVs, reach out to your tire distributor to ensure you are ready to meet the unique demands of the evolving diverse marketplace.
Jenifer Golba joined TBC Corporation in 2019 and serves as senior vice president, consumer product marketing.