Every season as snow starts to fall, vehicles smash into each other as they struggle to stop and turn. Don’t chance your safety, or your new EV!
Best Price Winter Tires
In years gone past, when it came time to consider snow tires for your electric vehicle, there were always lots of offers to help you save some money headed into the holiday season. However, this year, for some reason, is a little bit different.
There aren’t any winter tire specific deals, so we have to look a little bit harder and find some less specific rebates and gift card offers. All of the sites below have their own small discounts, and they also list rebates on all of the same tires – $100 mail in rebate on Cooper winter tires, Goodyear snow tires etc.
Do I need snow tires for my electric car?
While winter tires can be a personal choice for you, it’s important to realize that most summer tires, and even some all-season tires, really aren’t designed with cold weather in mind. The need for electric vehicle winter tires is not at all an indication of your driving ability, but it is definitely an indication of your importance on the safety of you and your passengers.
If you live in an area that sees winter temperatures below 40 degrees F or 5 degrees C, then you need either all-season tires, or specific snow tires. Those are the temperatures that summer tires become too hard to achieve sufficient grip on the road.
In fact, in some areas of the world, snow tires are mandatory between certain dates. In Europe, there are 17 countries with mandatory winter tire use including Norway and Germany where many electric vehicles have been sold. In North America, only Quebec requires snow tires on passenger vehicles with other areas in North America requiring snow tires on certain mountain passes at certain times of year.
Winter tires are specifically designed to maintain flexibility (and thus grip ability and traction) in cold temperatures and on ice and snow. From the compounds used in winter tires to help them remain flexible, to the tread patterns especially designed to release snow and not get packed full of ice, a good set of snow tires can decrease your stopping distance by moire than double! That means if stopping from 40mph takes you 150 feet on winter tires, it takes more than 360 feet on summer tires and means you’ll be visiting the collision repair shop. src
For my EV, what are the best winter tires?
The best snow tires for an electric vehicle are also the best snow tires for an ICE vehicle. However, most ICE drivers are not concerned with the impact on fuel economy that winter tires may have. For an EV driver that is concerned with overall range, and also has to deal with the decrease in winter range to do heating needs and also cold battery pack inefficiencies, then a low rolling resistance tire will likely be more important to you than most.
Also, depending on what electric vehicle you own (specifically the BMW i3), you may have specific size requirements that really limit your choices to vehicle specific tires. If that’s you, keep reading.
BMW i3 Winter Tires
The BMW i3 has a unique tire size, so your snow tire choice is limited. Currently, 2 companies make winter tires that are 155/70 R 19. Note that both of these are 19 inch tires, so if you have the 20″ stock alloys, you’ll need to find some 19″ wheels to mount them on. source
Nokian Tyres Hakkapeliitta R2 Winter Tire
The Nokian Hakkapeliitta is the only ‘A’ rated energy efficient winter tire. While the winter performance isn’t quite as good as the Bridgestone, it has a lower rolling resistance.
Available online from MyTyres.co.uk
Tesla Model 3 Winter Tires / Model 3 Snow Tires
If you are looking for an easy and done wheel and tire package for your Model 3, the official online Tesla Store has a Aero wheel and winter tire package that includes the Pirelli Winter Sottozero tires. However, there is a note stating the package isn’t compatible with the Model 3 Performance Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive configured with the performance upgrade.
Tesla Model 3 Performance Winter Tires
If you are looking to maintain peak performance throughout the winter season, the field of choices for a performance snow tire narrows to only a few choices.
Pirelli Sottozero 2 or 3
A performance winter tire, the Sottozeros are good for driving on curvy back roads during mild winter weather. These are winter tires for people who aren’t willing to sacrifice the typical extra noise and imprecise feel that most snow tires offer. Available online from Amazon.com, TireRack.com and MyTyres.co.uk
Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32
Tesla Model S Winter Tires
In the official Tesla store, there is a Model S 19″ slipstream wheel and winter tire package that includes Pirelli Sottozero 3 tires and 4 wheels. After purchase, your nearest Tesla service center will contact you about setting up an appointment for installing the winter tires on your Tesla Model S.
A test was done with the Blizzak LM-32 snow tires on the Model S, and they required 7% more energy than the Continental ProContact all-season tires. If you need all the cold weather range you can get, consider a high efficiency winter tire like the LM-500 or the Nokian Hakkapaliitta
More Research on Snow Tires for EVs
Wide or narrow tires? Are narrow tires better for winter?
According to Nokian, the company with the top rated Hakkapaliitta snow tires, narrow tires are better in snow. Many people will want wider summer tires to look flashy, but when it comes to winter performance, many Europeans opt for narrow winter tires.
Narrow tires provide better traction, because the weight of the vehicle is more concentrated on a smaller area, providing better traction in slippery conditions. Plus, narrow tires are often cheaper!
The only time a wide tire can be better than a narrow snow tire would be if you are trying to float across and dig through deep powdery snow, but that is a condition typically encountered off of the road, not on a winter highway.