Ira Newlander from West Los Angeles is thinking about trading in his old Ford Explorer for a contemporary hybrid or electric vehicle. However, he has observed that the majority of these cars do not have a spare tire. According to Honda’s customer service, this lack of spare tires in electric vehicles results from safety concerns, as a spare tire could potentially cause harm to the battery during a collision. In addition to safety concerns, automakers also cite weight reduction and increased fuel efficiency as reasons for omitting spare tires in electric and hybrid vehicles.
Automotive Trends & Advancements
Instead of spare tires, many of these vehicles come equipped with tire repair kits and roadside assistance programs, aiming to offer practical solutions in case of a flat tire while still maintaining the vehicle’s efficiency and performance. Automotive design specialists believe that there might be a simpler explanation for this trend: the size and weight of spare tires, combined with the fact that most drivers do not require them anymore. As vehicles become increasingly fuel-efficient and designed to reduce overall weight, manufacturers are opting to save space and weight by eliminating the spare tire.
Modern Tire Technologies
Advancements in tire technology, such as run-flat tires and tire monitoring systems, have reduced the need for a spare tire, as drivers can address most issues through preventive maintenance or timely repairs. Consumer Reports found in 2018 that about 60% of tested cars had temporary, smaller-sized “doughnut” tires, while a mere 10% included full-sized spares. This demonstrates a significant shift from previous years where full-sized spare tires were more common, as automakers prioritize weight reduction and storage space in modern vehicles.
Concerns Surrounding Doughnut Tires
The prevalence of doughnut tires raises concerns for motorists, as these temporary spares are designed for limited use and may not provide the same level of safety and performance as a standard tire. An increasing number of vehicles, particularly electric and hybrid models, are opting to skip spares altogether, choosing instead run-flat tires, puncture kits, roadside assistance, or no additional support at all.
Reasons for Shift in Preference
This shift in preference can be attributed to a variety of factors, such as concerns for weight reduction, fuel efficiency, and maximizing storage space in newer models. Additionally, advancements in tire technology and roadside assistance services have provided motorists with increasingly reliable alternatives to carrying a spare tire.
Examples of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Without Spare Tires
Many popular electric and hybrid cars, such as Tesla models, Chevy Bolt, Volkswagen ID.4, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, BMW i4, and Mercedes EQS, do not come with a spare tire, irrespective of their price tag. This is primarily due to the aim of reducing vehicle weight to maximize fuel efficiency and battery life. Additionally, automakers equip these cars with tire pressure monitoring systems and run-flat technology, designed to minimize the need for a spare tire in most driving situations.
Hybrids and the Trend of Eliminating Spare Tires
Notably, even hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius have not provided a spare since 2016. This decision to exclude the spare tire highlights a growing trend among automakers to decrease vehicle weight in order to improve fuel efficiency. Consequently, many car owners are now relying on tire repair kits or roadside assistance services as alternatives to the traditional spare.
Flat Tires & the Importance of Preparedness
Despite this tendency, American drivers still face 94 million flat tires each year. This staggering number highlights the importance of being prepared and knowing how to handle such an unexpected situation on the road. Having a basic understanding of tire maintenance and keeping an emergency kit in your vehicle can save you time, money, and stress when dealing with a flat tire.
Alternative Solutions in the Automotive Industry
The shift away from spare tires implies that the automotive industry is exploring alternate ways to handle punctures, moving away from the conventional spare tire approach. One of the most popular alternatives in recent years has been the implementation of run-flat tires, which allow drivers to continue traveling at a reduced speed for a limited distance even after a puncture occurs. Additionally, automakers have been including tire inflator kits and puncture repair accessories in their vehicles, offering a temporary solution to get drivers back on the road without the need for an immediate tire replacement.
Why are spare tires often not included in electric and hybrid vehicles?
Electric and hybrid vehicles often do not include spare tires due to safety concerns, weight reduction, and increased fuel efficiency. A spare tire can potentially damage the battery during a collision, and removing them reduces vehicle weight, which improves efficiency and performance.
What are some alternatives to spare tires in electric and hybrid vehicles?
Alternatives to spare tires in electric and hybrid vehicles include tire repair kits, roadside assistance programs, run-flat tires, and tire monitoring systems. These solutions help maintain vehicle efficiency while still providing support in the event of a flat tire.
Are doughnut tires a suitable replacement for full-sized spare tires?
Doughnut tires are temporary spares designed for limited use and may not provide the same level of safety and performance as a standard tire. They are not meant to be permanent replacements for full-sized spare tires but can serve as a temporary solution until a proper repair or replacement can be performed.
Do all electric and hybrid vehicles come without a spare tire?
Not all electric and hybrid vehicles come without a spare tire, but many popular models, such as Tesla models, Chevy Bolt, Volkswagen ID.4, and Ford Mustang Mach-E, do omit them to reduce vehicle weight and improve fuel efficiency and battery life.
How can drivers be prepared for a flat tire if their vehicle doesn’t have a spare?
Drivers can be prepared for a flat tire by keeping a tire repair kit or inflator in their vehicle, maintaining regular tire maintenance, and subscribing to a roadside assistance service. Additionally, having a basic understanding of tire maintenance and an emergency kit in the vehicle can be helpful in case of a flat tire.