Editor’s Note: Sailun arranged for AutoGuide editor Mike Schlee to test out the Sailun ERANGE EV tire by flying him to Los Angeles, California. Mike was not directly compensated for his review.
The world of specialty rubber covers nearly every niche in the automotive landscape. Sports cars have near-slick high-performance tires. Off road warriors can choose from a plethora of chunky go-anywhere all terrain tires. But one segment is still underrepresented – electric vehicles.
Sailun is looking to correct this with the brand’s latest offering, the new ERANGE EV tire. Designed specifically for vehicles that run exclusively off battery power, the question is, do electric vehicles really need EV specific tires?
Testing in the Land of EVs
To evaluate the ERANGE EV, Sailun has brought us to where else, but the epicenter of electric cars, California. Here we will be driving hundreds of miles on real world roads. The goal: to see what, if any, benefits the new tire provides to electric car owners.
The ERANGE EV features increase load bearing capacity since most EVs are heavier than their similarly sized gasoline equivalents due to the weight of those batteries. The sidewalls are reinforced to limit flex during hard cornering. Yet, Sailun claims the tires still offer great ride comfort.
Using the brand’s liquid phase mixing, the ERANGE features a uniform compound throughout the tire. This helps with tread life as well as rolling resistance, and the brand claims it also shortens braking distance. The tread pattern is designed to help maintain traction even with the heavy acceleration loads generated by instant torque EVs.
Quietly Hanging On
For our evaluation, the ERANGE tires are mounted on a Tesla Model 3. As mentioned, we are spending a few days driving up and down the pacific coast just outside of Los Angles, California. More than just cruising by the ocean, we are also taking a few jaunts up the local canyons passes.
Climbing through these surrounding hills, the tire has surprising grip for something with rolling resistance as the top design feature. If I push hard enough in a corner though, the tire will start to wash out as it is not performance rubber. Still, for an eco-friendly tire, I have a lot of confidence cornering with the ERANGE. I’m never left guessing if the tire will suddenly lose traction.
Better still, ride comfort doesn’t seem hurt by the tire’s stiffer sidewalls. The Model 3 is handling bumps and broken pavement with the same poise as a stock version of the car.
Quest for Quietness
Electric vehicles are silent by nature. With no engine noise, other sounds are amplified inside the cabin. Sounds like the hum generated by tires rolling over paved surfaces. After a few hours driving with the ERANGE tires, I can confirm there is no excessive road noise. The tires are quite quiet on paved surfaces, but on the freeway a bit of concrete hum still finds its way into the cabin.
Road vibrations are present, but just enough to know what the car is doing on the road. There’s no excessive road feel with the ERANGE tires, nor are they so squishy they completely isolate the driving experience.
Reaching for Range
Now on to the biggest question, does the ERANGE improve efficiency? The Tesla Model 3 single motor that I’m driving is officially rated by the EPA at 25 kWh of energy use per 100 miles of driving. Sailun claims the ERANGE is 7% more efficient than the stock tire found on this car.
Over the past few hours, I’ve been driving the vehicle without excessive hypermiling. It’s hard to make a comparison of this ERANGE’s performance compared to the stock tires without a direct back-to-back drive of the two tires. But, compared to the EPA rating, I’m seeing anywhere from 17.7 kWh per 100 miles to 22.5 kWh per 100 miles. That’s roughly a 10-30% improvement.
It is important to point out that Tesla owners do regularly beat the EPA ratings so these numbers do need to be taken with a grain of salt.
Sailun ERANGE EV: The Verdict
The new ERANGE comes in over thirty sizes, available for 15-inch wheels all the way up to 22-inchers. Many of the tire sizes are a direct replacement for OEM EVs.
But back to the original question. Does an electric vehicle need a specific EV designed tire? The honest answer is no, it doesn’t absolutely need one. But does a tire like the Sailun ERANGE make driving an EV more efficient and a deliver better overall driving experience? Yes, yes it does.