Discover what High Load capacity tires are, why MICHELIN is developing them, and the key technology used to design them for the ultimate safe and efficient performance.
What is a high load capacity tire?
Over the last decade, the present – and future – of car technology has changed dramatically, largely due to the introduction of hybrid and electric vehicles. Their often-limited range requires all drivers to insure themselves that charging stations are on their way. These regular stops to recharge can add a significant amount of time onto your journey. The solution to this is a larger and heavier battery which can hold more charge, allowing you to enjoy a much longer range before needing to charge. But installing larger batteries means an inevitable increase in the overall weight of the car.
Since the load of the car is supported by the four tires, we then need to either increase the size of the tires or use tires which can safety handle more weight. However, the design of the vehicles (especially sport vehicles) often means they don’t have space to add in bigger tires, and the existing Extra Load (XL or EL) tires on the market aren’t sufficiently able to support the heavier load, despite being stronger and more hardwearing than standard tires. Because of this, the tire manufacturers association, ETRTO (European Tire and Rim Technical Organisation) has defined a new tire standard that can carry more load than the existing XL tires. These are now known as the High Load capacity (HL) standard tires.
HL tires for which types of vehicle?
High Load Capacity tires are tires which are designed to support heavier vehicles, such as electric vehicles, hybrid cars and SUVs. HL tires, which despite being the same size and inflated to the same pressure, offer the higher load capacity needed by hybrid and electric vehicles with larger batteries.
How can you recognise HL tires?
Why is Michelin developing HL tires?
The need for adaptive technology and new tire designs is most clearly seen with the growth and widespread adoption of hybrid and electric vehicles. It’s important that consumers are able to buy tires that are designed for the specific needs of these vehicles – this usually includes a higher weight load because of the batteries, as well as to assure regenerative braking, lower rolling resistance while still making sure that noise is reduced as much as possible for a quieter journey.
Last but not least, Michelin developed these reglementary tires to conform to the road safety rules and guarantee all cars that need them to be able to fit them to their car.
How does Michelin technology support HL tires?
The technology used to create these tires is advanced, and at the cutting-edge of developments in modern tires. It involves using Michelin expertise to increase carcass load carrying capacity while maintaining rolling resistance and comfort through a combination of compounding, mold profile and reinforcement type. This means adapting the rigidity of the tread compound in order to support more load while maintaining wear performance and handling, as well as reinforcing the tire carcass in the zone of max strengths by using more robust plies and harder compounds. Finally, the profile is optimised and adapted to absorb the additional flexion of the tire, due to the weight increase, without sacrificing the comfort for the driver and passengers.
Do I need an HL tire on my EV vehicle?
It depends. When faced with a car with an increased weight, or higher load capacity, there are two options. These are:
- Upsizing the tire size, when possible
- Or alternatively, using the same sized tire, but one with has a higher load (HL) carrying capacity
But please keep in mind that if you’re driving a large, powerful electric or hybrid car, you’re likely to need HL tires. Remember that vehicles using HL tires will need to replace them with new HL tires when required.