This independent test by Tire Rack compares original equipment and replacement tires for electric vehicles. The test looks at range, efficiency and performance using two identical Tesla Model 3 electric sedans.

Tire Rack Compares Original Equipment vs. Replacement Tires for Electric Vehicles, Shares First Independent Test Results

Range and Efficiency or Performance? Tire Rack, the First Retailer to Conduct Independent EV Tire Testing, Shares Test Results to Show How Consumers Should Weigh Their EV Replacement Tire Needs.


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Using two identical Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor Long Range vehicles, the Tire Rack test team performed wet and dry testing on Tire Rack's dedicated test track. Real-world testing continued on a 6.0-mile loop of expressway, state highway and county roads, with long-range testing on a defined 200-mile route on highways near Tire Rack's headquarters.

South Bend, Ind. (Jan. 17, 2023) – Electric vehicle (EV) owners get to bypass gas stations, but like every other vehicle owner eventually they will need replacement tires. Tire Rack, America’s largest independent tire tester, now incorporates EV tires in its rigorous, real-world test program and the first results show that there can be significant differences between original equipment (OE) and replacement tires.

Maximum Range and Minimum Noise are Two Key Criteria for EV Designers
While tires for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles do focus on low rolling resistance to increase range and efficiency, EV manufacturers naturally place a focus on optimizing range and efficiency and consequently specify tires designed to provide very low rolling resistance. However, the characteristics that deliver low rolling resistance have an impact on wet and dry traction, lateral grip, and braking performance.

The lack of a traditional engine also means tire noise is more noticeable. So EV manufacturers need tires designed with low-noise tread patterns and a sound-reducing foam layer that tire engineers add to the inner liner of OE and replacement EV tires.

Tire Rack’s Tire Testing & Information Manager TJ Campbell said that OE and recommended same-brand replacement tires’ efficiency and low-noise benefits were confirmed in recent EV testing. However, testers also found that the tested replacement tires provided some performance advantages compared to the original tires.

“We tested Continental and Michelin Grand Touring All-Season tires using two 2022 Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor Long Range vehicles and replacement tires showed significant traction, braking, and lateral grip gains compared to from-the-factory tires,” he said. “The 50-0 mph braking distance improvements were substantial, with the replacement tires shortening the wet braking distance by 15 to 23 feet, or one to two car lengths. That can be the difference between a close call and a crash.”

How Tire Rack Tested Tires for EVs, and Five Things to Know
Campbell and his team compared original vs. recommended replacement tires, specifically the Continental ProContact RX T1 (original) and the Continental PureContact LS on 19 x 8.5-inch wheels, and the Michelin Primacy MXM4 T1 (original) and the Michelin CrossClimate2 on 18 x 8-inch wheels, respectively.

Testing was on a 6.0-mile loop of expressway, state highway and county roads. This real-word circuit provides various road conditions at both city and highway speeds, including smooth and coarse concrete, and new and patched asphalt. Wet and dry testing continued on Tire Rack’s own one-third mile test track, incorporating 90-degree street corners, a five-cone slalom, and simulated expressway ramps. The track, which was resurfaced this fall, allows the team to experience tire traction, responsiveness, handling, and drivability encountered during abrupt emergency avoidance maneuvers or competition events.
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The Continental ProContact RX T1 (original tire) on 19 x 8.5-inch wheels.

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Continental PureContact LS (replacement tire) also on 19 x 8.5-inch wheels. Both are available at TireRack.com.

Here are five key EV testing findings:

Replacement Tires: More Noise, Performance Advantages
  1. With the Continental PureContact LS replacement tire, the team noticed additional but not objectional noise. Ride quality was very close to the original Continental ProContact RX T1, but the PureContact LS replacement tire had a steering and light handling advantage in on-road driving.
  2. The OE Michelin Primacy MXM4 T1 tires delivered impressive ride and noise characteristics, particularly the relative lack of noise on smooth roads. The replacement CrossClimate2 delivered similar ride quality, was even tauter, and surprisingly quiet - yet not as quiet as the original Primacy MXM4 T1 tires.
In Wet and Dry, Replacement Tires Shine But Wait, There’s More
  1. During wet and dry testing on the Tire Rack track both the Continental PureContact LS and the Michelin CrossClimate2 replacement tires provided noticeable traction advantages, and each delivered better lateral grip in both environments.
  2. The Michelin and Continental replacement tires showed significant wet braking gains, with the Michelin CrossClimate2 braking distance almost 23 feet shorter than the OE Primacy MXM4 tire. In dry braking the Primacy MXM4 took a little over 7 feet longer to come to a stop. Conversely, the Continental ProContact RX T1 original tire on average stopped shorter than the replacement PureContact LS tire.
  3. Though the Continental PureContact LS replacement tire bested the original ProContact RX T1 tire in wet test track traction, lateral grip, and braking, the test team preferred the ProContact RX T1 original tire’s steering characteristics and acceptable overall performance. In comparison the team was a little frustrated with PureContact LS replacement tires, concluding the whole package felt pretty unhappy about what it was being asked to do.
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The Michelin Primacy MXM4 T1 (original tire) on 18 x 8-inch wheels

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The Michelin CrossClimate2 (replacement tire). Both are available at TireRack.com.

Something New: Learnings from Tire Rack’s Efficiency and Range Tests
The Tire Rack test team evaluated all tires on a defined 200-mile route on the highways near Tire Rack’s South Bend, Ind., headquarters. With an objective of evaluating each tire model’s efficiency and corresponding impact on vehicle range, the team used two identical Tesla Model 3 vehicles, driven in tandem, and took measures to ensure identical conditions for each tire. *

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The Tire Rack test team evaluated all tires on a defined 200-mile route on the highways near Tire Rack’s South Bend, Ind., headquarters, using two identical Tesla Model 3 vehicles driven in tandem.

The following chart shows the OE vs. replacement EV tire test results.
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It is important to note that Vehicle Reported Watt Hours/Mile is the average reported by the vehicle’s trip display and was reset before each trip. Estimated Range at 100% Charge is determined by comparing the consumed range (as reported by the vehicle) to the consumed battery (as reported by the vehicle) to determine miles per 1 percent of battery charge. This number was multiplied by 100 to determine the theoretical range at 100 percent battery charge.

According to Campbell, the key metric is the Vehicle Reported Watt/Mile figure. While it shows the replacement tires are slightly less efficient, he advised that consumers consider this data and the Estimated Range at 100% Charge results with a broader perspective. If leaning towards efficiency and range, there are some performance tradeoffs, and vice versa. And consumers also should consider their specific EV usage to help determine what best suits personal situations. For example, those who drive less frequently and in hectic and unpredictable traffic may lean more towards the performance and evasive maneuverability side of the spectrum.

“Which tire is the ‘winner’ really depends on what is most important to you as a driver,” Campbell said. “But we can confidently say that you won’t go wrong either way with these tire choices.”

The deep-dive Tire Rack EV testing results are available on the Tire Rack website: Electric Vehicle Tires – Comparing Continental Original Equipment to Aftermarket and Comparing Michelin Original Equipment to Aftermarket.

Finally, as a leading online tire retailer Tire Rack offers extremely competitive pricing, and convenient installation through its wide network of authorized installers or brings installation directly to shoppers through its Tire Rack Mobile Tire Installation program.