Why do electric cars accelerate faster than gas cars? Electric cars produce torque from zero revs per minute which EV give maximum torque almost instantly as the driver hits a throttle. There are four other reasons and they are…
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In this article, we’re going to be talking about five performance advantages of electric vehicles over the conventional ICE engine car. A lot of people talk about the efficiency and sustainable benefits of electric cars, I find the performance advantages a bit more interesting so that’s what we’re going to be talking about today.
Why Do Electric Cars Have More Torque?
The first thing we’re going to discuss is instant peak torque, essentially with an electric car you put your foot down flat and you will get immediate peak torque, and depending on how you tune that vehicle you’re going to get that torque from just zero revs per minute (RPM).
For normal street driving, which is what most of us do, you need to accelerate from a standstill, that happens all the time and they’re always at very low speeds.
In these low speeds, electric vehicles at low rpm will always have peak torque available, depending on how they’re tuned, and as a result, it makes them quite fun to drive.
Electric Cars vs Gas Cars Performance
This is one of the cool features of electric cars and that is they accelerate faster than gas cars, and then as you start to get into those higher RPMs and higher vehicle speeds that torque will start to taper off.
What EV transmissions Do For Optimal Acceleration
The second reason EV’s accelerate faster than gas cars is they don’t have complex transmissions. The advantage of not having this complex transmission and only using one gear is that the transmission is much lighter.
By saving the extra weight it saves on the complexity of an ICE car gearbox and as a result, reliability is much better.
If you don’t have a complex transmission shift time is also much quicker as you don’t have gears. You don’t have to shift gears so you save on shift time, this goes back to the debate between dual-clutch transmissions and manual transmissions.
Often manual transmissions are more fun to drive but now all of the supercars are tending to go towards things like dual-clutch transmissions because they’re faster, the shift time is less so the cars end up being quicker.
EV’s take this to the next extreme level as there is no shifting because they have one gear, so it’s as fast as it could get for the given power
EV Throttle Control
The third thing that can affect the acceleration of an electric vehicle is throttle control. I think throttle control is one of the things that makes an electric car so special because when you give it 50% throttle in an electric vehicle you get 50% of the power instantly, you can tune that to match exactly and get exactly what you asked for.
This is very different from driving a turbocharged car. You may give it 50% and get a hundred percent power, you may give it 50% and get less than that, it can be tuned very differently and it’s much more challenging with internal combustion engines rather than just providing 50% power also even.
With naturally aspirated engines if you think about how throttle bodies work in these vehicles you’re going to have a difference, and how much torque you get in the throttle as you open it.
Let’s say it’s open five percent and you open it to 15 percent. Now you have three times the area for air to flow through that throttle, so you’re going to notice a significant increase in torque versus if you’re at ninety percent and you increase another ten percent.
Similar to our previous from five to fifteen percent you’re only going to have a one-point one one times increase in how much area you have in addition to allow for airflow. So the torque increase won’t be as great from 90 to 100 as it is from five to fifteen percent.
An ICE gearbox does have a nice feel to it but with an electric vehicle, you can get exactly what you asked for with that throttle pedal because you can choose exactly how much power you want it to deliver at any given position, versus internal combustion engines which are more sensitive when you’re at low partial throttle.
No Brake Fade & Regenerative Braking
Number four is no brake fade. It’s not to say that you could never have brake fade in an electric vehicle but it’s far less likely, and the reason is is because you can regenerate that energy when braking and send it back to the battery rather than using your mechanical brakes to slow you down.
When you slam on the brakes you can use this electric motor and turn it into a generator and recharge your battery rather than just heating your mechanical brakes. This, in turn, allows you to use smaller brakes, less rotating mass, less unsprung masses and the benefits of reducing the size of those brakes which in turn means less weight.
You won’t be as dependent on the brakes and they will last longer. They won’t be as necessary and you don’t have to worry so much about brake fade in an electric vehicle because you can send that heat into the battery. The only thing you need to worry about is the cooling system for the battery in the motors rather than the braking system.
Finally, we get into battery packaging, and yes batteries are pretty heavy so that’s a bit of a disadvantage for electric vehicles. But it’s very flexible where you can put this battery, in Formula-E racing cars they locate it in the center of the car just behind the driver so it’s a nice central location.
That allows for good weight distribution and also means that the car has a low polar moment of inertia. That just means it’s very agile, it doesn’t resist turning much but again this is something very flexible.
You could take a battery and make it very flat and wide and put it along the bottom of the car, which gives it a nice even weight distribution and keeps the center of gravity really low. By having it on the bottom of the car you can help out with cooling and use that airflow underneath the car to help cool the battery.
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