Rapid EV growth to 2028 will drive changes in tires, new Smithers Rapra report says

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As part of the biggest automotive industry disruption in recent history, tire makers are increasingly focusing their business strategies on serving the electric vehicle market.  Electric vehicles (EVs) will make up a relatively small part of new vehicle sales and an even smaller part of the global vehicle park by 2028, but the segment is still exhibit dynamic growth.

In its market report The Impact of Electric Vehicles on Tires to 2028which is scheduled for release in October, Smithers Rapra estimates the number of EV passenger and light goods vehicles and the EV truck and bus segment will grow to nearly 432 million units with a CAGR of 35% over 2018-2028. This same segment is forecasted to reach nearly $33 million in value. Passenger car/light goods vehicles are forecasted to drive most of this volume and value growth.

As a baseline for comparison, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimated that there were over 750,000 new Battery Electronic Vehicle (BEV) and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV) registrations around the globe in 2016.

Smithers’ research into regional development shows that China will be by far the biggest electric vehicle market due to government policies to reduce pollution and dependence on imported oil. Most importantly, China’s government desires to dominate the industry.

Tires for hybrid vehicles will have more emphasis on low rolling resistance. Tires for plug-in electric vehicles (PHEVs) and especially for BEVs will need to handle greater torque generated by the battery, extra battery weight and the requirement for reduced cabin noise. Vehicle weight distribution is also likely to be significantly different, which can affect tire design.

The main drivers for tires to enhance EVs include fuel efficiency, grip, load bearing, wear, noise and vibration, overall property balance, air retention, and puncture resistance. Fuel efficiency is the most important issue. By 2025 US CAFE standards for passenger cars/light goods vehicles and trucks and buses indicate targeted MPG for car fleets should be an average 54.5. In comparison, OEMs are focused on long-range EVs that provide 200 or more miles on a single charge.

Current market influencing trends on EVs and tire development include reducing CO2 emissions, the speed of technological change, the increasing affluence and growth of the middle class in emerging/BRIC markets, urbanization, and aging populations. Also important is the greater use of sustainable materials in tire construction, increased emphasis on recycling, and growing fleet operation.

The Smithers Rapra market report The Impact of Electric Vehicles on Tires to 2028offers in-depth analysis of the growing electric vehicle market and its influence on tire development and manufacturing.

Smithers Rapra estimates for the next 10 years the strongest growth for Mild Hybrid quickly followed by BEVs for the passenger car/light goods vehicles plus the truck and bus segment