Oil prices are rising, sending a ripple effect into every nook and cranny of the automotive world. While some consumers are now forced to make decisions about whether it’s worth the cost of gas to take the monthly weekend drive to the mother-in-law’s, many commercial truck fleet owners now have to make routing and delivery decisions that affect their very livelihoods.
Unlike the last time gas prices peaked, today there’s an intriguing option for avoiding the issue altogether: electric trucks. As the cost of fuel surpasses record numbers in the U.S., so too does the interest in these battery-powered vehicles.
Fuel and tires tend to be a fleet’s largest annual expenses, so if your tire shop deals with commercial truck tires, you can expect nuanced questions from fleets about EV truck tires to start rolling in soon (if you haven’t gotten them already).
Retreading can effectively help fleets save thousands of dollars every year, so those running electric trucks will be happy to know the answer is “absolutely,” according to Dustin Lancy, commercial product marketing manager at Goodyear.
“All of our commercial tires, including our ‘Electric Drive Ready’ Endurance RSA 17.5-in. ULT tire [for last-mile delivery vehicles], has premium retreadability using our Premium UniCircle technology or precure retreads. The same benefits of cost-efficiency and sustainability apply to retreads for vehicles running electric powertrains,” Lancy says. “Especially as government and environmental regulations increase EV adoption, retreading provides a great option for fleets looking to reduce their petroleum use and the number of tires that end up in landfills.”
From regional to urban to mixed-service use electric trucks, retreads are an excellent option, Lancy adds, and with the right tread, will in most cases reduce overall operating costs. (Editor’s Note: There aren’t many battery-electric long-haul trucks on the roads yet and those that exist aren’t running traditional long-haul routes, so there aren’t yet any use cases that I’m aware of for retreading electric long-haul truck tires.) Lancy adds the company’s UniCircle retreads offer additional features which may be especially beneficial for electric trucks.
“UniCircle is a great retread option for electric vehicles as it features spliceless treads that match new tire designs to maximize product performance and offer more miles to removal on average than precure retreads. Unicircle retreads often provide lower rolling resistance to help increase the range of electric vehicles,” Lancy says.
Goodyear uses exactly the same retread process on tires designed for EVs as it does for tires designed for trucks with an internal combustion engine. All retreads go through a casing inspection system to detect potential issues. The company also places tires through a final inspection process known as a G100 machine, which inflates the tire to its optimum PSI to monitor the success of the retread and again look for any casing durability issues.
However, while the retread manufacturing process is the same, the extra weight and torque mean the findings from Goodyear’s inspection may be different, since these factors may cause tires for electric vehicles to wear differently than gas- and diesel-powered vehicles.
“When it comes to retreading EV tires, you have to place a higher importance on monitoring air pressure and tread depth to help maximize casing durability given the added weight of the EV battery itself,” Lancy says. “This is where a complete tire management program from Goodyear can come in handy for fleets as we have dedicated tire specialists who can handle these retreads directly and ensure overall quality.”