It wasn’t that many years ago that if you had a flat tire, you’d open up the trunk, grab the spare tire and jack, and change the tire right there on the side of the road.
But for many of today’s vehicles – including electric vehicles – spare tires are a thing of the past.
In this article, we’ll explain whether electric vehicles still have spare tires and the type of tire-changing tools that are included with most EVs.
Why do many electric cars not have spare tires?
The reason you don’t find a spare tire in many new electric cars has to do with weight. Tires for electric cars are around 750 pounds heavier which will affect mileage. The other reason for removing the spare is to offer more space in the trunk.
In fact, some newer-model, gas-powered vehicles don’t offer spares anymore either, so the lack of a spare tire is not limited to the electric vehicle industry.
However, one of the main reasons combustion-engine vehicles don’t offer spare tires is to improve fuel efficiency – which isn’t an issue with EVs.
If you’re wondering why most EVs don’t have spare tires in the trunk anymore, here are a few of the most common reasons.
Advanced Technology Systems
Cars have advanced tremendously in the past several years in terms of technology.
Advanced technology systems in newer cars constantly monitor the air level in tires, and immediately send alerts to the driver when a tire’s air pressure has gone below the recommended level.
Unless you experience a full blowout, this typically gives drivers enough time to reach the nearest repair shop or air machine that can be found at any gas station.
EVs Have Specifically Designed Tires
Electric vehicle tires are designed differently than regular tires for a couple of reasons. First, they’re manufactured to reduce noise.
And, secondly, EVs are about 750 pounds heavier than regular cars, so the tires are specifically designed to handle that extra weight.
Since EV tires are more expensive than regular tires and don’t last as long, manufacturers simply want to save money by not providing a spare tire, which is often not even used during the lifespan of a vehicle.
Electric vehicle batteries can weigh 1,000 pounds on average.
So ditching the spare tires makes extra room for the battery and other components specific to electric vehicles and their components.
Whether you own a gas-powered vehicle or an electric car, there’s a good chance you have roadside assistance offered through the car manufacturer or insurance provider.
This has become such the norm, that some drivers don’t even know how to change tires.
In some cases, it’s more convenient – and cost-effective – for the driver to wait on the side of the road until help arrives.
For example, Tesla offers free roadside assistance under a complimentary service or through an extended service agreement.
Is it harder to change tire on electric cars?
Physically changing the tire on an electric vehicle isn’t any different than changing a tire on a gas-powered car.
However, the hard part comes with choosing a tire that is specifically designed for an electric vehicle.
While there was a lack of options just several years ago in regards to EV tires, some of the biggest tire brands such as Goodyear and Michelin have expanded their market to make it easier to find tires designed for EV vehicles.
One of the biggest reasons electric vehicles require different types of tires is because of their heavier weight, which causes the tread to wear out faster.
The added weight also makes it harder to change the tire.
EVs need a long-lasting tread to maximize the tire’s lifespan.
EVs also have more torque than gas-powered vehicles, which requires more traction.
EV tires are manufactured with a strong grip to keep the car on the road and limit traction loss. Using a specific EV tire will offer increased durability and provide a longer lifespan.
Torque also puts more pressure on the tires, which can affect an EV’s power usage and range.
Because of this, shop around for tires that come equipped with technologies that can lower rolling resistance.
It’s also important to look for a tire that is quiet. Ironically, without an engine, the cabin of an electric vehicle is often noisier than a gas-powered vehicle.
Why is this?
It’s because the engine of a regular vehicle helps mask the road noise. Without the engine, an EV’s cabin can feel louder due to road noise.
The best EV tires on the market come with noise-canceling technologies that reduce road noise.
Do electric cars come with tire-changing tools?
Although many gas-powered vehicles still offer spare tires and tire-changing tools, these offerings aren’t as common with EVs – although some makes and models still do. Read more here about whether new cars still include tools for changing tires.
With electric vehicles, it’s a mixed bag when it comes to whether spare tires are offered.
Tesla and the Nissan Leaf, for example, do not offer spare tires but they do provide tire-changing tools.
The Hyundai Kona, meanwhile, does come equipped with a spare tire and all of the necessary tools to change a tire.
Be sure to ask the electric vehicle dealer whether the EV you’re considering buying comes equipped with a spare tire.
Can you use regular spare tires on electric cars?
Technically, electric vehicles can use any type of tire that gas-powered vehicles use, including spare tires.
If you have a blown tire, and you need to get your vehicle to a tire store, a regular spare tire will work just fine.
But you shouldn’t drive around with a regular spare tire for long, which we’ll explain why in the next section.
Do electric cars with spare tires have less range?
It’s not recommended to use a regular spare tire for an extended period, though, because it can reduce the EV’s range significantly.
Some electric vehicle drivers reported up to a 25% drop in range when they replaced their EV tires with regular tires.
Electric vehicles need specific tires because of their heavier weight and increased torque.
If you drive around with three EV-specific tires and one regular spare tire, it will likely negatively affect the vehicle’s range and can cause your tires to wear unevenly, leading to a shorter lifespan.
Because of this, it’s a good idea to have the tire replaced with the same make and model type as your other three tires.
The better the car’s range, the longer it can go without needing a charge, which will save on charging time and electric costs.
Whether you own a gas-powered car or an electric vehicle, you may have noticed that it doesn’t come with a spare anymore.
This trend is likely to only increase, including in the electric vehicle industry.
If you own an EV, and it doesn’t come with a spare tire, you can purchase a regular spare tire and throw it in the trunk.
Although you don’t want to drive around for long on a regular spare tire, it can give you the peace of mind of knowing that you can change your tire on the side of the road in the case of a blowout, allowing you to drive to a tire store or repair shop.