The rear left tire on my 2017 Chevy Bolt, which has 12,700 miles on it. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]

editor's blog iconSo, the standard line about electric cars and maintenance is that they require a lot less maintenance, and money, than gasoline cars. With four-and-a-half years of electric car driving under my belt, I can attest to the truth of this statement: My personal experience has shown that EVs require A LOT less money to maintain than gas cars.

This is true for everything — except when it comes to tires!

There, I experienced extremely premature tire wear on a 2014 Nissan LEAF that I ended up leasing for three-and-a-half years. The Bridgestone Ecopia tires on my LEAF were rated to last for up to 65,000 miles. In fact, the Ecopias on my LEAF went about 20,000 miles before I had to replace them. And, yes, I regularly had them rotated.

The Discount Tire email warning me about tread wear on the Michelin tires on my 2017 Chevy Bolt.

This is WAY worse tire wear than anything I had ever experienced during my ICE driving days.

The same premature tire wear issue has also turned out to be an issue on the 2017 Chevy Bolt that I have leased for 11 months. Discount Tire, where I have had my Bolt’s tires rotated twice in the approximately 12,000 miles I have driven so far, has sent me emails warning me that my tires will soon need replacement.

Yes, that;s right, after just 12k miles, the Michelin Energy Saver A/S Selfseal Green X tires on my Bolt are already triggering wear warnings from Discount Tire.

Yes, I do sometimes take off quickly in the Bolt — that is a BIG part of the fun of the Bolt, after all 😉 !

But I do this for perhaps five percent of my total driving. And, I often did the same thing in my old 1992 Acura Integra that I drove for 21 years before leasing my 2014 LEAF. I never experienced such quick tire tread wear on my Acura Integra as I have for the two EVs that I have leased over the past four+ years.

I am going to try to make it through one more winter with my Michelins on my 2017 Bolt — and this winter will be ONLY my second winter with my Bolt here in Denver. Then, I am probably going to have to replace my Michelins, with perhaps 20,000 miles on them. That is WAY earlier than when good quality tires — and Michelins are supposed to be good quality — wear out on ICEs.

So, my tire replacement costs are turning out to be about twice that of the costs for my old gas Integra, which made it to 40 to 50k miles on good quality tires.

However, even with the extra tire wear and the extra tire replacement costs for my LEAF and Bolt, they are WAY cheaper to maintain than a gas car.

In three-and-a-half years with my 2014 LEAF, I replaced the windshield wipers twice, refilled the windshield washer fluid about once every two months, had the tires rotated and balanced regularly, and bought four new tires in 40k miles of driving. That’s it!

Still, I would prefer to have to replace my tires less often on my electric cars.

Can’t they build tires that are fuel efficient for electric cars AND long(er)-lasting? Or, perhaps they can’t — if so, someone needs to explain to me why not.

I know I can’t be the only EV driver whose experienced very premature tire wear: What have been some of your experiences with electric cars and tire wear replacement?

At just 12,578 miles, the Michelins on my Chevy Bolt are showing a lot of tire wear. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]

9 Responses

  1. Lester Burnham (@paymeinbeahhh)

    And there u have it! My Leafs first set of Ecopias only lasted 22k miles although i might have squeezed out a few more thousand had the dealer rotated the tires one more time (“Not safe, cant do!”). But still, they were due.

    Your Michelins have an “avg” wear rating of 480 as did the Bridgestones. I replaced mine w/higher 600 or 700 wear-rated Kumhos. 17k in — no uneven wear but the treads getting used. And yes i see a slight difference in less mileage kwh/mi.

    Lets face it the weight and electric motor torque inherent in EVs are not going away. I see Michelins have a (pro-rated) 6 year warranty, but that probably just goes towards another set of the same tires before a myriad of other stipulations.

    Get the higher wear rated tires… good luck.

    • Christof Demont-Heinrich

      Thank you Lester for sharing your experience and expertise! You are correct and I will get higher rated tires when it comes time to buy them. Seems to me that tire makers really need to do more to develop multiple tire models exclusively with EVs in mind.

    • Christopher W Brown

      I run 44 psi in my Volt. It is a heavy car. I got 60k on original tires and 77 k on the Michelin Defenders so far. The factory 38 psi or 35 from the shops is too low.

      • Christof Demont-Heinrich

        Thank you for the tip. I am going to try running my Bolt’s tires at a higher psi.

  2. zhenxiang wang

    I have Nissan leaf 2015, I replaced 4 tires in Jan.2017(18000mi), and now 37000mi, I wan told that I need replace 4 tires again. ridiculous!

  3. zhenxiang wang

    I want to replace with Michelin tires, but the Nissan guy said the milage will reduce 25%. Is it ture?

    • Christof Demont-Heinrich

      The type of tires can have a big impact on range of an EV, so the Nissan guy might be correct.

  4. Rich

    It is the one-pedal driving that is killing the tires. Every time, you apply a unnecessary deceleration, that needs to be made up by addition acceleration, your tires are unnecessarily punished twice. The lack of ‘ability to coast’ of the one-pedal driving is the culprit. Under varying speed, grade and traffic condition, human can not perfectly balance the e-pedal so the tires are in neutral position when not wanting to slow down or speed up. The result is the tires are constantly sheared in either forward or backward direction. So, blame the e-pedal.

    • Christof Demont-Heinrich

      Thank you, Rich. I had never thought of that. I have always driven in one-pedal mode, for all 6 1/2 years I have driven electric. I will have to research this more!


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