One of the benefits of owning an electric vehicle (EV) is lower scheduled maintenance cost since there’s no engine oil, engine filter or transmission fluids to replace. However, if you own a top-spec EV like the Kia EV6 with 20″ tyres, you would need to fork out significantly more to buy a new set of tyres than a regular internal combustion engine car.
The Kia EV6 GT-Line in Malaysia rides on 20″ wheels wrapped in Continental PremiumContact 6 tyres which are the original equipment for the EV6. Designed to support EV vehicles, it has ContiSilent technology which features a polyurethane foam bonded into the inner surface of the tyre to reduce road noise by as much as 9 dB. This feature is necessary as tyre noise will be more obvious in an EV since occupants will no longer hear a noisy engine under the hood
Tyre puncture on a drive to Penang
On my recent drive up to Penang on a Kia EV6, I encountered a tyre puncture along the PLUS highway northbound near the Gunung Semaggol R&R. Like most new EVs and hybrid vehicles, there’s no spare tyre or even a car jack included, so you’re left with a one-time use tyre repair kit. Since the tyre can’t be repaired due to the size of the puncture, the EV6 had to be towed back to Kuala Lumpur.
In case you’re wondering, once you’ve used the tyre repair kit, the tyre can’t be reused or repaired. According to the instructions, the ContiMobilityKit can seal punctures up to 6mm in size and it allows you to drive for a distance of up to 200km with a maximum speed of 80km/h. That’s assuming that you can seal it successfully and fill up the tyre with a maximum pressure of 3 bars. If you could only fill up the tyre to a maximum of 2 bars, you could only drive it for a distance of 3-10km.
Total cost to replace Kia EV6 tyre and repair kit sealant in Malaysia
Based on a quote from Kia in Malaysia, a single Continental PremiumContact 6 255/45R20 tyre for the EV6 costs RM2,412. Yes, that’s over RM2,000 for a single tyre that’s designed for the EV. As a comparison, the non-EV version of the same PremiumContact 6 size costs about RM1,300-1,400. Meanwhile, the replacement sealant for the tyre repair kit costs RM251.50. Including labour charges, the total bill costs RM2,793.50. Therefore, if you need to change all four tyres, you could be looking at forking RM10,000 for a full set.
Since these tyres are relatively new, they aren’t widely available at your neighbourhood tyre shops. The best place to get it is from the EV dealership like Kia’s service centre at Glenmarie.
Continental isn’t the only brand charging over RM2,000 for a 20″ EV tyre. We’ve asked around and the Michelin’s Pilot Sport EV 20″ tyre for the Hyundai Ioniq 5 Max also costs about RM2,400 each. It is worth noting that not all EVs are using these expensive tyres. Lower-spec EV models with smaller 17-19″ wheels typically use normal tyres that are significantly more affordable. The only downside is that you’ll hear louder perceived road noise as normal tyres don’t have EV-specific features like the extra foam added to the inner surface of the tyre and stiffer walls to handle the extra weight of the vehicle.
One word of advice, avoid using the tyre repair kit as much as possible. Actually, never use it at all. A problem that can be fixed with a RM10 patch job would cost you an expensive tyre once you filled it with the sealant. However, it is good that the EV6 came with roadside assistance which was quick to respond and the towing is free even for interstate emergencies. I just need to pay for toll charges for both ways.