knightmb
Posts: 420
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:41 pm
Delivery Date: 15 Sep 2013
Leaf Number: 414897
Location: Franklin, TN

Re: The New Tire Replacement Post

Wed May 04, 2016 8:07 pm

One type of tires discussed here at the forum was the Michelin "Defender" tires. These tires are not advertised directly as LRR tires but only as "Energy Saver" type of tires. They do have a 90k warranty for mileage and cost a lot less than the LRR tires Michelin does sell for the Leaf "Premier A/S" which cost nearly twice that of the "Defender" tires.

I did some research and it seemed that the "Defender" tires would be a compromise between cost and performance for the Leaf. The good news was, I had a family member with a Leaf that just got a brand new set of Michelin "Premier A/S" tires on their Leaf (and payed the premium for them), so I actually had another Leaf that I could compare to mine.

My original tires were the stock Ecopias that came with the Leaf. I would rate their performance over the life of the vehicle as average. They had average grip, average handling, road noise, etc. The one thing I did have a lot of was data for trips. I have one trip that I use to gauge my vehicle performance that is a 26 mile drive through country roads that is fairly level, straight, no stops trip (no turns, stoplights, traffic, etc.) and the same speed the entire way (50 MPH) It is a great way for me to test different tire pressures, climate control settings, etc. and get pretty consistent results using nothing but cruise control the entire way.

As a data example, my Leaf could do this trip on the Ecopias and always score exactly 5.2 efficiency every time with fair weather conditions (not hot or cold or windy day). I would run my Ecopias at 40psi to get this consistent 5.2 score for every trip.

The day I replaced my tires with the brand new Michelin Defender tires, I could tell a difference right away. I could hear the tires stick to the road as I turned corners, drove around town. They were nice tires, don't get me wrong. Great ride, quiet ride. The next day I had a chance to do an efficiency test on my faithful route to see how they stack up against my old Ecopias. The day was one of those great weather days, not too hot or cold or windy. All 4 of my tires had 36 psi cold pressure, so I wanted to see how that "stock" air pressure would do on new tires.

I drove my faithful route and at the end was surprised to only manage 4.0 efficiency for the trip. I have to admit, that did kind of worry me, I was thinking "dang I am going to lose some driving range with these tires." I almost thought about returning the tires if I was going to lose 23% off my driving range, yikes! But, I didn't want to throw away the tire performance from just one test. I figured from what I read online that new tires, more rolling resistance, need to wear them out a little and see how they perform in a later distance test.

In the mean time, the range hit was quite noticeable. The GOM is bad enough for range anxiety, but it was really showed it for these new tires. I figured I needed to do something to try and keep my range up as best as possible until the tires had some more wear. In the following few days, I had another opportunity to take my "fair weather range efficiency test" route again. This time, I inflated the tires to the maximum cold pressure of 44 psi. My same trip this time scored me a 4.5 efficiency by only increasing the tire air pressure to maximum. I figured this would be a good compromise until the tires had some time to wear and I didn't really notice a handling or ride difference running maximum cold pressure either, which was surprising. The vehicle felt just as good at 44 psi as it did at 36 psi, so I was impressed with the tires for that reason alone.

Fast forward to 1,000 miles of new tire usage, my test route would gradually start to score better and better. After about 1,500 miles of new tire usage, I actually hit 5.0 efficiency again on these new tires. With that new goalpost, I started to gradually lower tire pressure to see at what point it started to affect my efficiency. I could take the tires down to 37 psi and still score nearly 4.9 to 5.0 on my range test route after 2,000 miles of new tire usage. My tires have over 4,000 miles now and I run 40 psi in them to give me a good balance of efficiency (I can score 5.2 on my test route just like my Ecopias did) and performance for driving.

I believe that even though the Michelin "Defender" tires are not advertised as replacement LRR tires, they perform very similar because these tires are suppose to last 90k miles, so they must have a stiffer, harder compound construction which gives the same benefit as a LRR but without the added cost.

How do they compare to the actual LRR tire that Michelin sells, the "Premier A/S". Well, I had a chance to test those as well thanks to some Leaf vehicle loaning. The Premier A/S tires can achieve at 36 psi when new that the Defender does at 44 psi when given time to wear. The Premier A/S will still out-perform the Defender when using a direct 36 psi to 36 psi comparison. The only way to even up the score is to raise the Defender cold pressure psi to maximum. If you run the Premier A/S at a higher psi (like 40 psi) then it can score better than the Defender at the same psi. Example, the Premier A/S at 40 psi on my test route can score 5.6 efficiency but my Defender at 40 psi can only hit around 5.2. On the same test route, the Premier A/S at 44 psi (max) can score 5.8 efficiency but my Defender at 44 psi (max) will top out at 5.2 efficiency.

In conclusion, if you want to replace the stock Ecopia tires, either tire of the Michelin Defender or Michelin A/S LRR will beat out the stock tires in the long run. If you want to save money and don't mind running some higher tire pressure, the Michelin Defender is a great budget tire in this case. It will be rough when new, but once worn, they work nice and still give a great ride. If you have some extra money to spend on tires or just want to absolutely maximize your Leaf range, then the Michelin A/S will do this. It still provides a great ride and you don't have to baby the tire pressure as much. Either way, both should out-perform the stock Ecopia tires, so anything other than the stock tires will make you happy. :)

LeftieBiker
Posts: 7167
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 31 May 2013
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: The New Tire Replacement Post

Wed May 04, 2016 9:32 pm

Why didn't you try the same 40psi in the new tires when the range dropped at 36psi? A direct comparison would be best done at the same pressure, but that was still helpful info.
2013 "Brilliant Silver" SV with Premium Package and no QC, and 2009 Vectrix VX-1 with 18 Leaf cells.

The most offensive, tasteless phrase in use here is "Pulled the trigger." I no longer respond to posts that use it.

knightmb
Posts: 420
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:41 pm
Delivery Date: 15 Sep 2013
Leaf Number: 414897
Location: Franklin, TN

Re: The New Tire Replacement Post

Thu May 05, 2016 8:08 am

LeftieBiker wrote:Why didn't you try the same 40psi in the new tires when the range dropped at 36psi? A direct comparison would be best done at the same pressure, but that was still helpful info.

I had more access to my vehicle than the loaner, so I could test mine several days out of the week, but had fewer times to test the vehicle of my relative. :D

powersurge
Posts: 753
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:24 am
Delivery Date: 06 Dec 2014
Location: Long Island, NY

Re: The New Tire Replacement Post

Thu May 05, 2016 9:11 am

I have been driving for 40 years, bought many tires, and followed the Consumers Reports on tires every year. Maybe I'm getting old and lazy, but I have stopped trying to "trick out" all of my possessions (cars, stereos, computers, guns, archery bows, etc..) with upgrades that will make my rig "perfect".

The car runs well as bought from Nissan, and we all put a good 20-30K miles on these tires before ever having to think about replacing them. The ecopias are common (sold at walmart, Costco, everywhere) and cheap, and If one of them goes, you can replace just the bad one instantly.

I personally cannot justify the time and expense of researching possible better rolling tires, and spending my money experimenting with any "new" type of tire (which of course will cost twice the price (with my bad luck)).

In my experience, there is no "magic" tire that will significantly perform so much better than the ones that Nissan has decided to put on every one of its Leafs....

Replacing with the originals gives me no worries, and more time to worry about my life's other f***ed up problems.

Peace....


of mind.....

LeftieBiker
Posts: 7167
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
Delivery Date: 31 May 2013
Location: Upstate New York, US

Re: The New Tire Replacement Post

Thu May 05, 2016 12:00 pm

My main objection to the OEM tires was that they made the handling and steering "squishy" - a fact that I didn't even fully realize until I put Pirelli snows on it and the steering and handling improved markedly. I was also concerned about sidewall failures on the "Ecrapia" OEM-grade tires. I actually put fairly cheap tires on to replace them, but they are still an improvement. ;-)
2013 "Brilliant Silver" SV with Premium Package and no QC, and 2009 Vectrix VX-1 with 18 Leaf cells.

The most offensive, tasteless phrase in use here is "Pulled the trigger." I no longer respond to posts that use it.

ENIAC
Posts: 643
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:05 pm
Delivery Date: 13 Jan 2011
Leaf Number: 224
Location: Sun Diego, CA USA

Re: The New Tire Replacement Post

Thu May 05, 2016 10:04 pm

knightmb wrote:One type of tires discussed here at the forum was the Michelin "Defender" tires. These tires are not advertised directly as LRR tires but only as "Energy Saver" type of tires. They do have a 90k warranty for mileage and cost a lot less than the LRR tires Michelin does sell for the Leaf "Premier A/S" which cost nearly twice that of the "Defender" tires.


I also went with the Defender. It's been awhile, but as I recall the price on the Premier A/S I was quoted wasn't much more than the Defender. Certainly not 2x. I just looked it up and Tire Rick currently shows a $2 difference. Did you receive some sort of promotional pricing on the Defender?

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/TireSearc ... adRating=S
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knightmb
Posts: 420
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:41 pm
Delivery Date: 15 Sep 2013
Leaf Number: 414897
Location: Franklin, TN

Re: The New Tire Replacement Post

Thu May 05, 2016 11:53 pm

ENIAC wrote:
knightmb wrote:One type of tires discussed here at the forum was the Michelin "Defender" tires. These tires are not advertised directly as LRR tires but only as "Energy Saver" type of tires. They do have a 90k warranty for mileage and cost a lot less than the LRR tires Michelin does sell for the Leaf "Premier A/S" which cost nearly twice that of the "Defender" tires.


I also went with the Defender. It's been awhile, but as I recall the price on the Premier A/S I was quoted wasn't much more than the Defender. Certainly not 2x. I just looked it up and Tire Rick currently shows a $2 difference. Did you receive some sort of promotional pricing on the Defender?

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/TireSearc ... adRating=S

In my area, the Premier A/S was $161 a tire and the Defender was $89 a tire. I did look at ordering the tires online to save some money, but would still have to pay to have the old tires removed, new ones installed, balance, etc. The local tire shop Discount Tire Store had the tires in stock for that price and as far as I know it wasn't a special or promotion at the time. When facing the difference between $400 bill for Defenders and $700 for the Premier A/S, I figured I would give the Defenders a try. So far been pretty happy and with 90k type tires, should last a long time. My poor stock Ecopias didn't last 27k miles before going bald. I know the Premier A/S would give me better range, but I don't often drive out of state and my area has such a large charging infrastructure setup that range isn't much an issue unless I go out of state (like KY, that's a charging desert). :lol:

minispeed
Posts: 681
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Delivery Date: 15 Jul 2014
Location: Ancaster, ON

Re: The New Tire Replacement Post

Mon May 09, 2016 8:51 am

The defender is an LRR tire and marketed by Michelin as such, it just isn't the key quality that the tire wad designed for. From what I remember reading about it the defender's main design is to last a long time without giving up a great amount in any other category. The premier is designed to be safe when worn and uses a very new and at least for now exclusive to that tire tread design that gets wider as it wears instead of narrower. If you live in a place with a lot of rain it's probably worth it.

If you wanted LRR as your top goal then the tire for you is the energy saver, stock tire on Leaf 17s and available in 16s in 205 60 16 which is a slightly better size than 205 55 16.
2015 White SV, after one month 292 GIDS
Best 1 charge drive, 229km (143miles)

Lambtron
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon May 25, 2015 12:39 pm
Delivery Date: 05 Aug 2011
Leaf Number: 6977
Location: North Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: The New Tire Replacement Post

Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:27 pm

redLEAF wrote:I looked for the most recent post for discussions on replacement tires for our LEAF so will add a new wrinkle here as didn't return any search results for Bridgestone DriveGuard run flats (as well as my own experience once I get these on the car). Here in the Midwest (Chicagoland area) we have fairly poor roads, although now ALL of them seem to be under construction; lots of pot holes to try an avoid. I was all ready to switch my OEM 16's alloys for some quite nice looking 17's that were take offs from an earlier model Juke -- no real issues with the original Ecopia's other than they're completely worn out at 31K miles but that's pretty much expected. The newer Ecopia Plus seemed a good bet but my local tire and maintenance guy gave me some other ideas; both keeping the original aspect ratio for thicker sidewalls and thought I might want to try something that would solve the no-spare issue when the wife drives this car.

For about the same price I'll be trying the Bridgestone DriveGuards using the OEM 16" alloy rims -- these are the latest 'run-flat' tech that will allow you to get 50 miles to have them serviced if you get a puncture; I know, I know; run flats of old were simply terrible, 'hard' tires with very stiff sidewalls that had a bad reputation but these at least (from a few reviews on tire rack) seemed to have improved quite a bit. They give you a full 30 days to try them out and will swap out for others if you're not satisfied so we'll see how these do.

I'll report back once I get these mounted this coming Monday -- I do expect a bit of a mileage hit initially, but expect that to even out a bit over time. We've had lots of rain as of late and no more slipping and sliding around corners with the worn out tires will be a welcome change. I've been averaging about 5.2 to 5.6 miles/kWh during fairly cool temps (no A/C use) so we'll see how that compares with these new run-flats.


I put a set of Bridgestone DriveGuards on this week. I've got them pumped to 40psi. On smooth asphalt they ride smooth but any bumps in the road seem to be amplified greater than the original Ecopias.
My mileage took a hit from 4.5-5.5 (w/o heat) to 3.8-4.0. I also notice my max crawl speed went from 4 MPH to 3 MPH. I'm going to try pumping pressure to 45 to see if the crawl speed increases. That may indicate if better efficiency is possible. (Tire max pressure is 51 psi).

juice13
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2016 7:30 pm
Delivery Date: 23 Feb 2016
Location: NC - Triangle

Re: The New Tire Replacement Post

Fri Feb 10, 2017 7:57 am

Lambtron wrote:
I put a set of Bridgestone DriveGuards on this week. I've got them pumped to 40psi. On smooth asphalt they ride smooth but any bumps in the road seem to be amplified greater than the original Ecopias.
My mileage took a hit from 4.5-5.5 (w/o heat) to 3.8-4.0. I also notice my max crawl speed went from 4 MPH to 3 MPH. I'm going to try pumping pressure to 45 to see if the crawl speed increases. That may indicate if better efficiency is possible. (Tire max pressure is 51 psi).


I have have experienced similar results after replacing the worn Ecopias with slightly used Driveguards (16 inch SV rims).

Efficiency dropped from 4.0 lead footing to 3.0, hypermiling from 5.0 to no more than 4.1. The colder weather may have some impact, but the drop was immediate and lasting. We've put about 5k miles on each set of tires. 43 psi on each set.

The range hit was real, but not being inconvenienced with a flat tire as this is our carpool car is a huge plus. That being said, with the battery degradation I think we'll go back to Ecopias and a donut in the trunk next time to get more usable range out of it. (down to 83% SOH and 11 bars.)
2013 Leaf SV QC/LED and Premium. 12 bars (apprx 87%SOH) @28k miles.

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