5 Ways Electric Cars Outperform Gas – Video

1 month ago by Domenick Yoney 20

How do I love thee, EV? Let me count the ways.

The InsideEVs community can probably all agree on one thing. That is, electric cars are better than those powered by internal combustion. But, we all have friends and family who might not be willing to take our word for it. Well now, you have an authoritative voice to point them to if you’ve been less than successful in your attempts to convince naysayers.

Technical animation showing direct drive system

That voice belongs to the host of the YouTube channel Engineering Explained,┬áJason Fenske. The channel’s latest video is the 5th and last of a series produced in conjunction with Formula E and features his dulcet tones explaining five ways that electric vehicles outperform gasoline-powered ones. You can watch above.

If for some reason you can’t watch the video right now, we’ll break it down quick and dirty for you.

  1. Instant peak torque. Probably the most often repeated advantage. Power comes on so hard in electrics that they have feather the intial onset so driveline parts don’t get destroyed.
  2. No complex transmissions. Yeah, you can put a multi-speed gearbox, A.K.A., a transmission, in an electric vehicle, but it’s not (typically) necessary.
  3. Throttle control. A well-programmed EV can give you precisely the response you ask of the throttle.
  4. No brake fade. Using energy regeneration by turning the electric motor into a generator can be used to slow down a vehicle, taking a lot of the work (and resulting heat, which causes fading) from the brakes.
  5. Battery packaging. Although they are heavy, batteries can be packaged in a number of different ways in a chassis. Flat and low, or higher, but more centralized, different approaches will yield different results. Internal combustion engines can be placed over the front axle, just ahead of the rear axle, or over the rear axle, but you can’t really distribute an engine beneath the floorboards of a vehicle.

Obviously, some of these issues pertain more to the cars of the Formula E racing series than those we might find in our own driveways, but there may be some surprising overlap. Take brake fade, for instance. That’s something most of us will never need to worry about, but if you happen to travel down steep mountain roads, it might be reassuring to know your brakes don’t need to handle all the strain by themselves.

One feature not mentioned in the video, but which was raised by the channel in the comments beneath it is traction control. Electric drive allows for very precise management of wheel spin, which is important when the vehicle your driving also has gobs of instant torque.

Source: Engineering Explained via YouTube

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20 responses to "5 Ways Electric Cars Outperform Gas – Video"

  1. Roy LeMeur says:

    It’s surprising that traction control was not mentioned in video. This is why Tesla is a vehicle of choice in ice and snow and also on the dragstrip. IIRC, each wheel gets feedback from the traction control every 30 milliseconds. Try that with your ICE.

    1. Four Electrics says:

      This can be implemented using brakes with a response time which is as good, if not better, than what an electric motor can do. Further, the motor affects both wheels, but brakes can individually modulate each wheel.

      1. Nick says:

        Yep, in an EV you can do both. Best of all worlds.

        Additionally, you don’t want to be killing your brakes with traction control duty during spirited driving.

      2. David Cary says:

        Interesting thought that hydraulics and mechanical action can be faster than electricity. I don’t agree. The wheel argument is a decent one but doesn’t seem to matter in the real world. Any evidence the S does not use brakes also? It would have to to have stability control.

        Having driven both – high end ICE with TC and the S, the S wins in my book by the quick reinstitution of power. That makes the process less noticeable. But the ICE TC is certainly not bad at all.

      3. Will Davis says:

        Ironically given your name, you overlooked the fact that a real heavy-duty off road EV can use FOUR motors; one in each wheel. Now THAT’S good for traction.

        1. Right – torque vectoring! Try THAT in an ICE.

  2. Scott says:

    I’m wondering what some of the lesser known or discussed impacts of electric cars will be. For example, for those of us in snowy climates – warming your car in the garage?(without CO poisoning concern), less black filthy snow lining the roads? Etc

  3. God/Bacardi says:

    Really should add “race” car to the title…Applied to road cars…

    1. No one cares about “instant torque”, only 0-60…A sub $40K V8 Camaro or Mustang has a faster 0-60 than every tesla except for the $135K P100D…
    2. No transmission? Despite many companies pushing CVTs onto people, most people hate them and many automakers have added simulated jerky “shifts”…
    3. So can a well programmed ICE vehicle…
    4. Most people have never experienced brake fade in their lives and if he have, do not routinely encounter it on their work commute
    5. Not so sure that’s even a huge benefit for the race cars, formula 1 have been doing fine in this regards for decades…

    For road cars, actual benefits…

    1. Stigma, different cars give off different stigmas, regardless, most everyone seems to be okay with the stigma they receive after they’ve made the purchase…
    2. One pedal driving experience if offered…
    3. Cost savings, usually with “fuel” and maintenance…

    1. Derek says:

      #1 “No one cares about instant torque”. Wrong, I care about instant torque.

    2. Ryan says:

      It’s the 0-30 time that is the winner for everyday use of EVs in municipal traffic. Being able to jump ahead or change lanes quickly is a great feature. At least until everyone else is in an EV. ICE cars with high torque have significant lag on the start, even if they can overtake later. My turbodiesel VW was completely annoying in stop and go traffic. Far prefer my Volt, much more fun to drive.

      1. philip d says:

        Also unlike in an EV that V8 Mustang can’t use all that power all the time without significant engine wear. With an EV if you feel like it you can use all the horses all the time with very little penalty.

    3. Mark.ca says:

      You’re right, no one care about instant torque if you blow a piston getting there.
      My favorite parts about evs are the quick acceleration, quietness and home charging in that order.

    4. Kyuu says:

      Regarding your number 2, there’s a world of difference between an ICE with a CVT and an EV with a single speed transmission. People dislike CVTs because they make the engine RPM disconnected from the throttle, and it causes an irritating “drone” when the engine is stuck at a higher RPM. EVs don’t use CVTs and none of the negatives of them apply. Don’t know why you even attempted to make this equivalence.

      For number 4, brake fade might not be an issue for everyday driving, but the regen braking does save a lot of wear and tear on the brake pads, making them last for a very long time compared to an ICE.

      1. Ryan says:

        And generally CVTs in ICE = boring performance. Opposite of direct drive in an EV.

        Subaru managed to make the Impreza really boring to drive.

        I agree about the RPM droning speed mismatch, one of the things I hate about driving my Volt when it flips into hybrid mode.

  4. jim stack says:

    It’s more like over 10 ways Electric cars out perform gas cars. In FACT over 8 thousand barrels a day better.
    https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MCRIMUS2&f=M

  5. Bill Howland says:

    This guy says basically the same thing on all his videos… He always gives a typical ev motor’s torque curve, but he doesn’t explain the reduction of torque 1/2 way through. (I’ve mentioned it several times so won’t go through it here).

    He then lists the disadvantage of a battery’s weight as being an advantage, but then he doesn’t mention where the weight could be an advantage.

    I find the throttle opening stuff far to simplistic to mean much, namely there is pressure drop and laminar vs turbulent flow through the restriction so simple ratios don’t begin to explain what happens, nor what the vacuum generated by the engine (if any) determines the source pressure available to cause the flow in the first place.

    So in the end I find his explanations rather arrogant in that he doesn’t begin to explain most things except at the most obvious level which almost everyone knows anyway.

    Hardly ‘exgineering explained’. Unless he is totally self-satisfied with partial, incorrect explanations. Or statements like EV’s don’t NEED gearboxes (except the examples and cars that he’s shown have 3-speed ones).

  6. Andy.uk says:

    One of the best features of an EV over an ICE is your ICE front wheels after 1 week will probably be black with brake dust, usually when you want to check the tyre pressures. How many people have ended up with black brake dust fingers?
    My Nissan Leaf not washed for weeks, front wheels still clean as a whistle. It’s magic.

  7. gallam says:

    One advantage only mentioned in passing is the ability to have one motor for each wheel, allowing near-perfect traction control. This also carries the advantage of being able to turn around on the spot like a tank.

    Why e.g. Renaultsport and Honda have not already produced such a car is a bit of a mystery, considering it would be the best handling car ever made.

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