Humans are living, breathing contradictions. Look around. There are people with facemasks hanging from an ear so they can puff on a cigarette, those who order a salad from McDonalds, those who order strong decafs, and the special few who buy a Tesla and then fit it with cheap tyres.
That’s akin to Usain Bolt slipping his size 13s into a twenty-dollar pair of runners. Teslas appeal to us for a number of reasons, but driving these advanced technological machines on the wrong tyres can negate their most desirable attributes.
We’re the first to admit we’re a touch biased, but tyres are important. Far more important than the average car owner thinks. When we’re in the market for a new car, we’ll read reviews and take note of how particular models handle, how quickly they stop, how quiet the cabin is, and so on. What we sometimes don’t realise – and what nearly all reviewers fail to acknowledge – is that a lot of how cars behave and sound is down to the tyres they sit on.
Electric cars are steadily growing in popularity as the technology improves and infrastructure adjusts to accommodate them. One selling point that has been around since they first appeared on the scene, though, is how quiet they can be.
Combustion engines are made up of parts that love producing noise – pistons, air valves, gear mesh, fuel injection pumps, cylinders, exhausts, fans. These parts aren’t present in electric cars, which is why they’re so quiet.
It’s difficult to appreciate how noisy traditional combustion engine cars are until you go for a drive in a Tesla. It’s like a Buddhist retreat on wheels – if those wheels are the right ones.
You haven’t skimped on the car, so don’t skimp on the tyres
Recently, we were fortunate enough to go for a drive in a Tesla – and found that famous quiet drive had disappeared. The reason? Cheap tyres.
Like most things in life, you take the good with the bad. A positive attribute usually comes with a drawback. Because Tesla engines are so quiet, road noise is far more noticeable inside the cabin than with traditional combustion engine cars. This means that the excessive noise generated by cheap tyres is amplified inside a Tesla.
Going for the most expensive tyres, though, isn’t the solution. While you want to avoid cheap tyres, you also want to aim for the most appropriate tyres.
We’ve done our research, and determined that Continental and Michelin make the quietest tyres that don’t compromise on grip. In fact, Continental produces a tyre that comes equipped with a foam membrane, specifically used to dampen noise. It has a marked impact on making a quiet tyre even quieter.
Of course, road noise can have a significant impact on combustion cars, too. You notice it particularly when driving on a freeway that has stretches of different surfaces, or newer and older patches of bitumen. The noise noticeably changes in the cabin when moving from one to the other, which is down to the friction created between the tyre and the road.
So, these quiet tyres aren’t only appropriate for Teslas, but all cars. Next time you fork out for a new vehicle (especially something premium like a Tesla) don’t skimp on the tyres. The world has enough contradictions as it is.