The gradual disappearance of spare tires from modern electric and hybrid cars is sparking debates among potential buyers and manufacturers alike. This trend raises concerns about safety, convenience, and the trade-offs associated with the evolving landscape of automobile design.
While customers express a desire for a backup tire in their new electric or hybrid vehicles, the majority of these cars no longer come equipped with spares. Manufacturers cite safety concerns, emphasizing potential risks to the battery in the event of an accident. However, experts argue that the move away from spares is primarily due to practical reasons rather than safety considerations.
The Reasoning Behind No Spare Tire
One of the core reasons for the absence of spare tires is the ever-shrinking space in modern vehicles, especially with the rise in larger wheel sizes. Geoff Wardle from the ArtCenter College of Design notes the challenge of accommodating sizable spare tires in vehicles that increasingly prioritize larger rims. This space competition becomes even more pronounced in electric cars, where components like batteries encroach upon traditional spare tire areas.
Weight reduction is another crucial factor. Spare tires, albeit seemingly insignificant in a vehicle’s weight, contribute additional pounds, impacting fuel efficiency and range. Manufacturers striving to meet stringent emissions standards are keen on shedding every possible ounce to enhance efficiency.
Plus, equipping vehicles with spare tires comes at a cost. These additional components add expenses during manufacturing, influencing the overall price of the vehicle. Given the shift towards more expensive and robust tires for electric vehicles, the cost factor further compounds the issue.
While safety concerns regarding spares potentially damaging batteries in collisions have been mentioned, experts question the validity of this explanation. Some argue that while this risk might exist in rare scenarios, vehicle design modifications could mitigate such concerns.
Advancements in tire technology and onboard systems that alert drivers to low tire pressure have minimized the need for spare tires. Many modern vehicles offer repair kits or roadside assistance, assuming that drivers are more likely to rely on professional help than change a tire themselves.
The Unfortunate Reality
Despite manufacturers’ claims that spares are no longer necessary, consumers remain skeptical, particularly in situations where roadside assistance might not be readily available, such as remote locations or late-night drives.
The absence of spare tires in new electric and hybrid vehicles represents a shift in design philosophy, balancing practicality, safety considerations, and cost factors. While manufacturers emphasize the redundancy of spares in modern driving conditions, the debate continues between convenience and preparedness for unforeseen circumstances.