Real-world driving demonstrates the all-around capability of Sailun’s new electric vehicle tire.
Electric vehicles are, in many ways a different proposition from your typical regular gasoline or diesel engine car or truck. Besides the instant torque, range management considerations, charging infrastructure needs and maintenance requirements, there’s also the tires they ride on.
Many consumers who’ve decided to take the plunge and purchase or lease an EV, quickly find out that they can go through tires a lot faster than your typical ICE vehicle does.
That’s why a specialized tire, designed for EVs is a prime consideration. The market for such tires is fairly embryonic right now, with very few clean-sheet designs on offer. One exception; is the Sailun ERANGE EV, which was conceived, from the ground up, as a specific EV, all-season tire.
Specific EV design
Sailun’s proprietary Ecopoint3 liquid phase mixing technology has allowed the company to develop a tire that’s designed to address specific concerns among EV owners and drivers, namely reduced rolling resistance, less road noise, better performance and traction, as well as better longevity.
To find out how much of a difference the ERANGE EV provides over a regular OEM tire commonly fitted to electric vehicles, Autosphere was invited to Southern California, where we were given an opportunity to experience a Tesla Model 3, shod in ERANGE EV tires in a variety of regular road conditions, including bumper-to-bumper city traffic, freeway driving as well as some enthusiastic corner carving in the infamous canyon roads north of Los Angeles.
If you’ve never driven an EV before, it can prove a bit disconcerting at first. In a car like the Model 3, where most of the controls are activated via a giant tablet type screen in the centre of the dash, it can take a little getting used to. The electronic drive selector also might be unfamiliar to some, as is the near quiet sensation and instant torque once the vehicle is in motion. Accelerating through city traffic and merging onto the freeway is a breeze in an EV, though it’s always important to keep an eye on the battery’s charge status, particularly if you’re on a longer journey like we were.
In the Model 3, the steering is very direct, and although enthusiast drivers don’t have the option to shift gears and experience car control in the same way as they would a typical sporty machine, the EV’s low centre of gravity and quick steering input somewhat makes up for the car’s lack of noise and traditional ‘feel.’
Since the tires are the only part of the vehicle connecting it the road, ride quality, noise and grip are of paramount importance. One thing we noted with the ERANGE EV is that over bumpy city streets and worn freeway surfaces, it delivers good ride comfort, even in a firmly sprung car like the Tesla Model 3. Low rolling resistance is critical to help EV drivers maximize range potential, and according to Sailun, the ERANGE EV delivers a 15% improvement in rolling resistance coefficient compared with OEM tires. In real-world terms, this translates into 7 % more battery life per charge, which, for a tire aimed at a volume segment price point, is very significant.
In most cases, low rolling resistance and ride quality tend to come at the expense of handling and grip, yet we found this wasn’t the case with the ERANGE EV. Credit Sailun’s Ecopoint3 technology here, because, once we took to the hills and found some twisty roads, the ERANGE EV really came into its own. We could chuck the Model 3 into turns at decent rates of speed and the tires just went where we pointed them, no squealing, no fuss, just surefooted grip—and that was the case whether ascending or descending grades.
Although the ERANGE EV is not marketed as a performance tire, in this case, it definitely felt like one—there are few eco-oriented tires this author has experienced that offered anywhere near the same level of confidence when going through the turns.
Another consideration was that we could really see the low rolling resistance aspect of the tire really work during descents as well. At the foot of our major afternoon ascent into the hills just inland of Malibu, our Tesla was showing battery range of 174 miles (278.4 km). By the time we reached the summit, 30 minutes later, that was down to about 165 miles (264 km). On the descent, the car’s regenerative braking, combined with the rolling resistance and handling capability of the tire, enabled us to almost regain all of that charge—as we exited the canyons and headed for the Pacific Coast Highway, our range was restored to almost 170 miles (272 km) again.
Although we didn’t have the opportunity to really put the tire through its paces in proper wet conditions, enthusiastic driving in the dry, as well as regular commuter type road conditions in busy LA traffic demonstrated, the all-around capability of this EV specialty tire.
While the EV market is still small in North America, the segment continues to grow. And for tire dealers and retailers who are looking for a product that will deliver the goods under the vast majority of road conditions, Sailun’s ERANGE EV [based on our first true sample test], has a lot going for it. This tire is competitively priced, well-engineered and with over 30-sizes available in North America (in 15-to-22-inch wheel diameter applications), offers a good deal of flexibility.
As a result, it is likely to prove popular with tire retailers and their EV customers in the coming months and years.