Something that might confuse a prospective EV owner is the lack of a spare tyre, which you’re likely to notice when shopping for your Tesla Model 3, Polestar 2 or Hyundai Ioniq 5.
But why is that? Are EVs so sophisticated that they don’t require a spare tyre?
No, I’m afraid not. The answer is actually quite simple, to the dismay of many an EV owner. Before you start arguing on behalf of EV manufacturers, no, your puncture repair kit is unlikely to totally make up for the missing wheel.
An article published in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday reflected on this, noting that it was because of the battery that the wheel must be omitted, but this is just one of the reasons. Yes, it does come down to different technology, but no, it’s not all about the battery.
According to Motor and Wheels, the tyres on an EV are typically designed very differently to petrol cars. This is usually to reduce road noise but is also because of the heavier weight that EVs pack.
These bigger wheels do take up a lot of space, space which could be used by the battery to add several more kilometres to the range of the vehicle. The weight of a spare tyre doesn’t necessarily impact range, however.
Additionally, modern vehicles typically come with tyre monitoring systems, which keep the pressure managed. While this doesn’t make up for a replacement wheel entirely, it does make tyre management a bit easier.
Other than these points, it’s often noted that spares are used less often today, but personally, I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.
Over in the U.S., there are a number of EVs with spare tyres, but these are usually much bigger vehicles, like the Ford 150-Lightning or the Rivian R1T. But here in Australia, you’re unlikely to find one.
The good news is that you can pick up a spare, but the bad news is that there’s no assigned place for it to go. If you pick up a regular tyre to use as a spare, this should work fine, but keep in mind it will affect the range. Even some petrol vehicles are now lacking the humble backup tyre.
Will this change? Hopefully, as the technology improves, but for now the spare tyre isn’t a common EV feature.