There are other problems too. “They have a parallel goal: On the one hand, you have to cope with and withstand the weight of a battery-powered car with stronger brakes, stronger axles and strong suspension,” Dahncke added. “At the same time, you have to optimize everything for aerodynamics.”
These “basic practices” involve collaboration between suppliers and manufacturers, Coke said. You need to consider the brakes, the wheels, the side mirrors, wind noise, chassis noise, and tire noise. The problems do not only affect one manufacturer. In his case, Pirelli, whose home base is in Milan, worked closely with Rivian in Michigan to assemble tires for its products.
Tires are, of course, Mr. Coke’s only concern. One of his priorities in developing electric vehicles is reducing a tire’s rolling resistance, a key factor in extending battery life. Longer battery life means less range anxiety and a larger potential market for electric cars.
“Our compounds are engineered with high silica content for very low durability,” said Coke. Silica reduces the energy consumption of the tire. “And our challenge is to reconcile this with handling, braking in wet and dry conditions and the service life of the tires. And in an electric vehicle, we try to adapt the tires to the application: When the vehicle has front, rear or all-wheel drive; when it is used for summer, winter or all season. “
Then there is torque. “There’s an immense amount of torque in electric vehicles,” said Mr. Coke. “The tendency to set foot and deliver that power is obviously a tendency that tires wear out very quickly. So you have to have a grip, but you don’t want too much resistance. “And around and around.
While weight reduction is important for all cars and trucks, it is especially important for electric vehicles, mainly because of the battery charge. And because the batteries in the vehicle are often low, the focus of the electrics differs from that of a conventionally powered car. Is this change in sensation worrying for some drivers?