Electric car tyres and tyres designed to offer greater fuel efficiency contain some of the tyre industry’s most advanced technology. Supporting fast growth in primarily battery-powered electric cars as well as car-maker’s legal obligation to produce more fuel-efficient combustion powered vehicles, tyre manufacturers have developed increasingly eco-friendly products for original fitment. More electric cars on the road means more demand for replacement tyres that perform similarly well. Our nominations process for this category set very high expectations for such products. We demanded comparatively high fuel efficiency and low noise alongside performance and safety characteristics in one of three sizes for Europe’s top-selling electric cars.
We found three specially designated eco tyres in at least one of the three sample sizes to meet our stringent criteria. These offer the best possible fuel efficiency thanks to particularly light construction and advanced rubber compound mixing technologies. These three tyres are also good candidates because they offer more though; at least B-rated wet grip, low noise, and improved safety characteristics are also features of these products. And the assurance of all-round performance is why we are picking the winner from this list, rather than the highest-scoring standard summer tyre.
WhatTyre Electric Car Tyre of the Year 2021
WhatTyre’s Electric Car Tyre of the Year is the Bridgestone Turanza Eco.
Launched in early 2020, the Turanza Eco in size 195/55 R16 91V XL offers a compelling all-round package, with a double-A label rating that simultaneously means low rolling resistance and a high level of wet grip. It is not the quietest tyre to make it to our “Highly Recommended” list, but it more than meets our requirements of eco tyres. Bridgestone’s Enliten Technology, with which the Turanza Eco is made, helps to reduce rolling resistance up to 30 per cent lower than a standard premium summer tyre, according to internal tests. It means the tyres are around 20 per cent lighter too.
The tyre was selected as one of Volkswagen’s original tyre approvals for the ID.3, the brand’s first fully battery powered electric model, and by Fiat for its electric 500 La Prima. Its eco-properties were also key to it earning approval for VW’s eighth-generation Golf too. The head of chassis development at Volkswagen, Karsten Schebsdat, explained that the “significant reduction of rolling resistance allowed by Enliten Technology has a huge impact on the ID.3’s battery conservation… Enliten Technology can go a long way in helping to change perceptions on the viability of e-mobility.”
This game-changing technology is what makes the Turanza Eco our number one choice for electric cars.
Another eco tyre
The Turanza Eco is not the only tyre built specifically for sustainable motoring worth investigating. Conti’s EcoContact 6 also meets all our demanding criteria for this segment and demonstrates particularly strong fuel economy characteristics. It can offer up to 20 per cent better mileage and 15 per cent lower rolling resistance compared to the predecessor tyre. Thanks to Conti’s Green Chili 2.0 compound, the tyre also improves its driving performance, with more precise handling and shorter braking distances. The tyre is a favourite of small to medium-sized car manufacturers, with approvals from a dozen European vehicle manufacturers, including – like the Turanza Eco – the ID.3 and 500 La Prima.
One for the future
This year is a bit too early for the other tyre. The Michelin e.Primacy is being introduced in Europe as we publish our awards verdicts. While we therefore cannot give the tyre our top recommendations yet, the signs are really good for this one. Michelin has a history of innovation in tyres for electric vehicles, with the Energy Saver range, which is being replaced by the e.Primacy, and the electric car specialist Energy E-V. The tyre will be available this year in 56 dimensions for 15- to 20-inch rim diameters, a portfolio that covers most key combustion and electric vehicle sizes outside the sports segment.
Three conventional tyre recommendations
While more conventional products may not be as clearly focused on reducing rolling resistance as the products above, they can still offer characteristics recommendable to electric cars – especially those with smaller tyre sizes. Three products have particularly impressed us in the 195/55 R16 size, with TyreScores just over 9.00.
The Michelin Primacy 4 really needs no more introduction, and while it may in time be superseded by the e.Primacy in this category, its all-round capabilities proven in numerous independent tyre tests make it an easy choice to recommend again. Its very low, one-soundwave noise rating also makes it an attractive comfort option for comparatively quiet battery-powered cars. With its higher performance Pilot Sport series, Michelin is also a strong supplier of electric car trailblazer, Tesla.
At 67dB in the 16” sample size, Hankook’s Ventus Prime 3 is the quietest tyre in this category. While it is a bit older than other products receiving our highest recommendations, this can equate to astounding value for money. The tyre has continued to receive excellent reports from 2020 tyre tests, with balanced performance characteristics that offer both comfort and dynamic driving capabilities.
Finally, the original Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance is a second older tyre that we think is worth considering. The tyre has been recommended in testing in the past two years, again commended for its balance, and is, like the Hankook, proven by a long history of excellent results. Its successor, the EfficientGrip Performance 2 has successfully targeted long mileage but does not match its predecessor’s A-rated fuel efficiency in any of our sample sizes. The original EfficientGrip Performance has also been supplied to the ID.3 as an original fitment.
Two more special mentions
Tyres in our top sample size, 235/35 R20, struggled to get above the blank D band for rolling resistance, meaning that only one tyre made an appearance in our nominations in this size. Hankook’s Ventus S1 Evo 3 with extra load (XL) is worth a look if your electric car runs on larger rims, like the Tesla Model 3 Performance. Hankook has also retuned this model for electric car tyres with its Ventus S1 Evo 3 EV, currently available in two Porsche sizes for the electric Taycan.
Goodyear’s Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 may not meet the speed rating criteria in size 195/55 R16 91H, but if you want assured UK winter mobility in harsh seasonal conditions, we think it may be the best option for your electric car, beyond fitting full winter tyres. The first tyre with the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake winter performance marking to achieve A-grade fuel efficiency, the tyre has received excellent marks from independent testers since its 2020 introduction.
About the TyreScore
All TyreScores quoted in the WhatTyre Tyre of the Year Awards 2021 are correct as of our judging period in March 2021, but more data and a new version of the algorithm will inevitably mean changes. When you buy your next tyres, we recommend you make WhatTyre part of your pre-sale research to determine the best tyre for you.