The automotive industrial complex is going electric.
Back in May 2020, Michelin rocked the industry when it announced the new Pilot Sport EV tire, the first from the company specifically crafted to confront the unique demands of electric vehicles. And now another automotive tire manufacturer that's making moves in the EV industry has joined the fray: Goodyear has declared its intentions to build its first-ever EV-specific replacement tire in North America, according to a recent press release.
Called the ElectricDrive GT, it could become a major factor in the hastening industrial pivot to all-electric vehicles. Most notably, Goodyear plans to expand the new EV tire's portfolio of offerings in 2022. But this raises the question: why do EV cars need different tires, if conventional tires have already evolved to virtual perfection?
Goodyear's initial tire size will fit many high-performance EVs
The answer lies in weight difference. EVs are heavier than conventional cars, and the greater the weight, the more rapidly tires are worn down. Additionally, cars lose range with beaten-up tires, so working to prolong tire health for heavier vehicles will offer electric vehicles a greater consumer incentive to pivot to the future of automotive transportation. This is why Goodyear has built its tire with an asymmetric tread pattern, in addition to a customized tread compound, and together they generate enhanced traction through every season, in both blindingly wet and unspeakably dry driving conditions.
And there's more. Goodyear has emphasized its contribution to the pursuit of noiseless vehicles, which is something long-thought impossible in the hey-dey of conventional, fossil-fuel vehicles. The ElectricDrive GT comes equipped with the firm's SoundComfort Technology, and it "acts as a built-in sound barrier that helps reduce road noise," according to a report from The Next Web. Of course, Michelin beat Goodyear to the punch, with the former's Pilot Sport EV in multiple sizes throughout Europe and North America. But Goodyear says its initial EV tire size (255/45R19 104W XL) will fit several of the most popular and high-performance electric vehicles.
Electric vehicle markets are gaining wider traction
Of course, you can only talk about tires before you wonder why you're spending your day listening to someone go on endlessly about tires. But behind the physical turn of the wheel is a metaphorical one: We're witnessing an industry-wide shift to electric vehicles, where not only auto-manufacturers but also adjacent industries are collectively playing new cards to keep up with the changing demands of a market evolving to match the needs of a climate-conscious consumer base. "With the continued growth in the EV segment, Goodyear recognized an opportunity to provide consumers with a tire designed for the unique needs of these vehicles," said Goodyear's Product Managing Manager, Andrew Lau, in the press release.
While electric vehicle owners are still in the minority of automotive customers and owners, the numbers don't lie: electric vehicle markets are gaining traction, and early advances made by Elon Musk's Tesla have caused major legacy vehicle manufacturers like Ford, GM, and many more to dive head-first into the global pivot away from fossil fuel cars. We can only hope that the assembly line and resource extraction industrial complex surrounding EVs also moves to eliminate harmful practices, like lithium mining, and fossil fuel power for EV charging stations.