Hybrid Electric Vehicles Fuel Efficiency with Low-Rolling Resistance Tires

Fuel Efficiency and Low-Rolling Resistance Tires

All car manufacturers must pay special attention to fuel efficiency, especially as the world shifts its focus towards more “green” modes of transportation. However, several other details seem to get more attention when designing electric vehicles. To enable maximum fuel efficiency, manufacturers ensure that the gas engine and electric motor combination is correct as well as the overall weight and aerodynamics of the vehicle. Factors such as these play significant roles in hybrid vehicle fuel efficiency, but there is one thing that the vehicle service industry needs to pay attention to – tires.

Hybrids have been rolling off the assembly line for many years now sporting special low rolling resistance tires. “What are low-rolling resistance tires and how can they help me to save fuel?” is the question you’re probably dying to ask.

Simply put, a low-rolling resistance tire is a tire made from a harder rubber than a regular tire. Being made of a harder material helps the tire to roll easily, meaning it finds less resistance when the rubber hits the road. Less friction with the road translates into better fuel efficiency because the engine (electric motor) has an easier time creating and sustaining forward movement.

What you should know about low-rolling resistance tires

Low-rolling resistance tires are designed to reduce the amount of energy lost, increasing overall fuel efficiency. With the “green revolution” hitting the market, low-rolling resistance tires are gaining a lot of popularity since they increase fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 levels.

Rolling resistance

It’s time for physics 101 to get a firm grasp on how these tires work. First, rolling resistance is the total amount of force required to initiate the rolling of a tire while it's in its idle state. When measuring the rolling resistance of a tire, we need to know the resistance force needed to keep the tire rolling. There is some energy lost as the tire rolls through its footprint and the engine has to overcome it; this referred to as hysteresis. Now, with a clear idea of what the rolling resistance is, it is time to take a look at some of the factors that make tires low-rolling the perfect option of electric vehicles:

  • Weight

​​Usually, more laborious and lighter compounds tend to maintain their rigidity better than the heavy rubbers which deform easily and ask for more energy. Note that the tire's weight is also affected by the sidewall design since increasing its stiffness can cause low-rolling resistance. However, this also increases the overall mass of the tire, which can lead to negative impacts. When it comes to weight, tires that are made with fewer materials will need smaller energy amounts to conform to the road, leading to a higher potential for lower overall rolling resistance.

  • Tread pattern

The tread pattern does not only have effects on low-rolling resistance tires but also in the rest of the tires. Deeper treads lead to increase resistance across the surface and the more the fuel used. If that tread depth is reduced, then there will be minimal resistance and fuel will be saved in the long run. Having a smoother tire means it will roll more quickly than one with more massive treads and will also provide a quieter driving experience.

  • The tire compound

The tire compound immensely contributes to the resistance of the tire. Most tires are made up of a combination of natural and synthetic rubber but manufacturers have also tested silica, alternative oils, and other emulsifiers.

When these compounds are added to the traditional ones, the tire has a lower rolling resistance without necessarily giving up on traction. It also leads to a cooler running tire, which in turn prevents the amount of energy lost as heat. Manufacturers are exploring different alternatives these days to ensure they the tire compound achieves low-rolling resistance while complying with new environmental requirements.

Benefits of low-rolling resistance tires

Low-rolling resistance tires are manufactured to maximize the fuel economy of your vehicle. As a result, they are mostly used in hybrid electric vehicles to minimize the amount of energy used in a single drive. Several factors ought to be observed. Take, for instance, energy consumption. A low-rolling resistance tire will resist internal friction better and will have lower energy loss due to the rubber compounds used in its casing and tread construction. The tread pattern and depth are also crucial factors to put into consideration. Some of the benefits of these tires include:

  • Fuel efficiency

Fuel efficiency is the most apparent advantage of low-rolling-resistance tires. They roll almost effortlessly across any surface thanks to their lightweight tread patterns and the compounds used in manufacturing them. Electric cars need to save as much energy as possible so that they can cover a longer distance before they run out of fuel, which is why these tires are the best option for any electric hybrid vehicle.

  • Extending tire life

Low-rolling resistance tires are manufactured uniquely with a mixture of different compounds to come up with a quality product. Because of their durability, low-rolling resistance tires don’t wear and tear as quickly as their counterparts.

  • Increased mileage

Electric hybrid vehicles depend on fuel to keep on going. Therefore, they need an efficient system that does not lose a lot of energy – this is why many brands come up with efficient designs that work in synchrony with low-rolling resistance tires. Run the numbers

Contact Your Local Hybrid Shop

Since not all of us are physics experts, this information about low-rolling resistance tires may seem intimidating but that is okay! If you are ready to switch to low-rolling resistance tires and want to talk to a specialist, The Hybrid Shop is happy to help you choose the best tires for your vehicles. With our team of experts, you can be sure that you will get the best tire for your vehicle at the lowest price!

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