Car manufacturers worldwide are reshaping their design strategies to comply with stricter emissions regulations. As a result, the traditional spare wheel is slowly disappearing from new vehicles, especially in the United Kingdom. Recent research conducted by the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) found that only 3% of new cars sold in the UK come equipped with a spare wheel as standard.
In a bid to reduce weight and enhance fuel efficiency, automakers are opting to exclude spare wheels. Instead, they are providing alternative solutions such as tyre repair kits. These kits, however, have led to an increase in breakdown incidents, particularly when drivers encounter irreparable punctures. The RAC responded to nearly 200,000 call-outs in 2020 from drivers who experienced a flat tyre without a spare wheel, a significant rise from 2018’s figure of 165,000.
One contributing factor to the decline of spare wheels is the rise of electric vehicles (EVs). EVs often have battery packs where the spare wheel would typically be located, making it impractical to include one. A handful of British models, including the Fiat Tipo, Land Rover Defender, and Toyota Land Cruiser, still offer spare wheels as standard, but they are the exception rather than the norm.
RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis acknowledges that experiencing a puncture is highly frustrating for drivers, especially when navigating the prevalent pothole-ridden British roads. However, he highlights that most new car buyers have the option to add a spare wheel as an extra feature. While this may require an additional investment, it can prove invaluable for drivers who find themselves in need of a spare in emergency situations.
The decline of spare wheels in new car manufacturing reflects the industry’s commitment to reducing vehicle weight and improving fuel efficiency to meet stringent emissions standards. As electric vehicles continue to gain popularity, it is likely that spare wheels will become even scarcer. However, consumers can still opt for this essential component, recognizing its importance in dealing with unforeseen punctures and ensuring peace of mind on the road.
1. Why are car manufacturers eliminating spare wheels?
Car manufacturers are removing spare wheels to reduce vehicle weight and improve fuel efficiency, meeting strict emissions regulations imposed by various countries.
2. What are the alternatives to spare wheels?
As an alternative, carmakers are providing tyre repair kits that allow drivers to temporarily fix punctures. However, these kits may not be effective for irreparable damage.
3. Are spare wheels still available as an option?
Yes, many new car models offer spare wheels as optional extras that can be added during the purchasing process. They may come at an additional cost but can be a wise investment for drivers who want an extra layer of security on the road.