Electric cars were in their bloom back in the 19th century. But a sudden ascension in petrol engine cars, followed by battery technology inefficiencies, wasted electric cars by 1920 from the market.
However, with recent improvements in battery and power electronics, electric cars have made a strong comeback, specially tesla.
Electric cars or petrol cars: Which is better?
We will compare both electric and petrol cars technologies used scientifically and understand which one is superior. But, before getting any further, let’s quickly see how the respective automobiles work in simple terms.
How does an IC engine work?
An IC engine (Internal-Combustion Engine) is the principal mover in petrol cars. The fuel supplied to the petrol engine produces combustion, and enough pressure and temperature applied help move pistons. The linear motion of piston is transferred to a rotary motion using a slider-crank mechanism.
As a result, the Transmission transfers this rotation to the drive wheels.
How does an electric car work?
The power source of an electric car comes from a battery packet. An inverter converts DC battery power into three-phase AC, which can turn an induction motor, causing the drive wheel’s turning.
Now, let us compare these technologies head-on:
- In a car with IC engine, the uniformity of force and power production can not be guaranteed. The reciprocating elements cause substantial mechanical balancing issues. Besides, the engine never self-starts.
Many accessories are required to solve these issues, which makes an IC engine quite heavy. Such problems are not there in an electrical motors.
The induction motors works with the help of stator generated rotating magnetic field. One can control motor speed by adjusting the frequency of AC power input. They are self-started and produce uniform power and speed output.
- Due to these reasons, an induction motor produces much greater power and torque output an IC engine and, is much lighter.
It is interesting to note that both both technologies require cooling. They must reject the waste heat generated to keep the temperature within a specific limit. However, the waste heat generated by an induction motor is much lower than that of an IC engine.
What are the advantages of petrol cars over electric cars?
- An IC engine, i.e. petrol car’s main advantage is the ease with which it can be refueled. It generally takes around 5 minutes or less. However, electric cars can take at least 1 hour to a few days for recharging.
- Another significant advantage of petrol cars over electric cars is due to their high energy density: the current lithium-ion battery’s energy density is nowhere near petrol. But, both of these types of vehicles produce comparable travel ranges.
- You can compare the size and weight of their energy storage devices. The low energy density of the battery produces a considerable weight penalty to the electric car. The heavyweight of a car reduces the coefficient of friction between the tire and road, considerably making cornering difficult.
- Continuous liquid cooling is required to keep the battery temperatures at normal levels and the radiator rejects the removed heat to the atmosphere. A petrol car’s energy storage part, on the other hand, does not require any such cooling mechanism.
Fun Fact: If you tear down the battery pack of an electric car, you will notice that the battery pack is a assortment of typical lithium-ion cells that you use in your daily life.
It is not that electric cars don’t have any positive side.
- The battery pack of electric cars also provide specific advantages as well. As the heavy battery pack is sitting very low to the ground, it lowers the centre of gravity and increases car stability. Thus, overall safety increases.
- The large battery pack also offers structural rigidity against side collisions, as it is spread across the floor.
Another primary is that a complex exhaust gas treatment is needed to keep pollutants and noise at statutory levels in an IC engine car.
When we compare these two technologies’ power dynamics:
Electric cars are the clear winner here. IC engines cannot be operated beyond a specific speed range, necessitating a complicated and costly transmission mechanism for speed control.
- The motor works efficiently in a wide speed range. So, in electric cars, speed can be controlled immediately from the engine. As a result, a varying speed transmission is not required for an electric car. The inverter accurately controls induction motor speed by merely adjusting the output power frequency.
Advancements in the last decade to the technologies behind inverter power electronics played a vital role in the revival of electric cars.
- An electric car can produce excellent torque even when it starts, whereas an IC engine car struggles at low RPM. Thus, a DC motor is needed to take the engine to the optimum RPM range at the start. Moreover, electric cars’ torque and power can be controlled promptly while the petrol cars respond poorly, leading to far superior controlled traction in electric cars.
- Electric cars have inborn advantages when it comes to regenerative braking. The induction motor also acts as a generator here. To achieve regenerative braking in a petrol car, you must install a separate BLDC motor and a battery pack.
This was all for the comparison, but let’s talk about the elephant in the room:
Which car is more economical? Is it electric or petrol.
An electric car is much costlier than an average petrol car.
However, to get the complete picture, you must also compare the travelling cost expected for a mile. The calculation based on current petrol and electricity prices shows that electric cars are at least one-third cheaper than petrol cars.
Moreover, the electric cars have low maintenance cost when compared to petrol cars. With technological advancements and electric cars’ rapid development. One can see how electric cars have the edge over IC engine cars in the future.
I hope that you found the answers to your question. Please do check out other similar articles on Torq Curve. Thank you!