It's a bigger deal than it sounds like.
We often hear about automakers improving battery technology or simply adding more cells to increase electric vehicle range. But there's another, less talked about area where EVs can improve their driving range; tires. Late last year, Pirelli announced bespoke tires for the Porsche Taycan to handle the car's massive torque, lower rolling resistance, maximize range, improve grip, reduce road noise, and increase comfort. Following up on the Taycan's new rubber, Pirelli has just introduced its latest tire dedicated to electric or hybrid cars and SUVs.
This new Pirelli P Zero tire wears an "HL" (high load) marking on the sidewall, denoting it can handle 20% more weight compared to a standard tire. The first car to wear this new EV-focused tire is the luxurious 2021 Lucid Air. We don't know exactly how much the production Air will weigh, but unlike it's namesake, it should be pretty heavy at around 5,000 pounds.
Lucid initially planned to launch the Air earlier this year, but delayed it to improve the quality. That delay might be to Lucid's benefit, as the new Pirelli tire is now ready to launch with the car. The P Zero tires benefit from Pirelli's two revolutionary new technologies: Pirelli Elect and PNCS technologies. Elect is exactly what we described on the Taycan, improvements to rolling resistance, grip, and noise. PNCS is a special sound-absorbing material inside the tire that deadens air vibrations, making the cabin quieter.
Pirelli doesn't mention any specific improvements in range, though its competitor Michelin states its EV tires could improve the distance by 37 miles with lower rolling resistance. Lucid claims the Air will go 406 miles on a charge, so perhaps that number will increase thanks to these tires.
"The search for cutting-edge technical solutions has always been at the very heart of Pirelli's business," said Pierangelo Misani, Pirelli Senior Vice President of R&D and Cyber. "The attention we devote to all new forms of sustainable mobility now leads us to technology that is capable of anticipating the future demands of car manufacturers for their new electric and hybrid vehicles, which increasingly require specialized performance from tires."