Electric Cars Vs. Gas Cars: The Dichotomy of Modern Vehicular Choice

Electric Cars Vs. Gas Cars: The Dichotomy of Modern Vehicular Choice

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Noel Joseph
August 5, 2021
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Incredulous developments in modern machines have led to the creation of fantastic beasts of motion: Electric Cars.

Electric cars, or EVs as they are called, are the next step in the transportation business. These vehicles have created a world of locomotion drastically different from standard gas cars by reducing pollution effluents and increasing efficiency. 

Humans marveled at the idea of traveling in an automated buggy that required no physical effort when Karl Benz came up with his skeleton for a car. Since that dreary day in the nineteenth century, we have come far ahead to enjoy the benefits of EVs.

While both types of vehicles dominate today’s markets, more and more people consider buying an EV for themselves every day. Moreover, automobile companies are bending over backward to enter the Electric Car market. 

Here, we will try to analyze the nuances and differences that electric and gas cars offer us and try to decide what the best buy for you might be. We will talk about how efficient and powerful each type is and how the trend in cars is shifting. 

How fast does each type of car go?

Let’s talk about the engine inside a car. Inside a gas-powered vehicle, you will find an ICE, an Internal Combustion Engine.

This kind of engine relies on burning fuel to power the vehicle forward. However, some of the energy generated is lost during transmission between the engine and the wheels.

On the contrary, EVs run on electrically charged batteries. So, like you need to fuel your car every time the tank is empty, you have to charge your electric car when the battery discharges. 

It is because of this structural difference that both types of cars offer different types of speed. Electric cars are quick, whereas fuel or gas cars are fast. What we mean is that EVs provide more torque than traditional ICEs and can cover ground quickly.

On the other hand, gas cars can reach unimaginable top speeds but cannot sustain those speeds for a long time. 

How fast does each type of car accelerate?

electric car acceleration

The fastest electric cars can reach top speeds of a little over 250 mph, and the quickest gas cars have top speeds a tad bit over 300 mph.

However, electric cars accelerate faster than gas cars because of the more straightforward design of an electric motor. Therefore, if you are judging an EV and a gas-powered car based on each one’s horsepower, the EV will be able to utilize more of its potential than the gas car. 

Electric cars accelerate faster than petrol cars. Out of the top 30 fastest accelerating cars, Tesla produces five models, all of them electric. Therefore, it is time we debunk the urban myth that electric cars are slow. 

Power generated from ICEs is lost in transmission within the powertrain. The powertrain is the path that the energy follows, i.e., from the engine to the wheels. Every ICE loses roughly 15% of power in this process. EVs do not face a problem with energy loss since electric charges are supplied to motors directly.

No energy is lost in this process, and the wheels spin fast, often accelerating more quickly than fuel-based cars. The fastest EVs can go from 0-60 mph in under 2 seconds. That is an impressive sprint. 

How durable is each type of car?

Let’s talk about how long an electric car will last compared to a gas car. Electric cars win the battle of durability by a long shot.

While there is still significantly less public trust in EVs today, it is these tech marvels that stand the test of time better than their fuel-based counterparts.

Why are electric cars durable?

Absence of moving parts

gas engine moving parts

Gasoline vehicles have moving parts in their engines: pistons, belts, etc. It is these spare parts that tend to fail over time and lose their vigor.

However, electric cars do not have such elements in their engines, and therefore do not run the risk of breaking or wearing down moving parts. 

Essentially, electric car owners will save themselves large sums of money that would have been spent on repairs and servicing otherwise. While electric cars have parts that can undergo wear and tear or can fail sometimes, they are not located in the engine. 

Long life of EV batteries

Just like in a traditional gasoline-powered car, the battery needs to be changed once every few years.

However, buyers must remember that changing the battery is the only fuel cost you will be paying since you do not have to purchase actual fuel. Also, EV batteries are, in essence, the engine of the car.

They are designed to last much longer than traditional car batteries. Companies like Nissan and Tesla have claimed that their stock batteries will not have to be replaced for at least a decade.

Customer satisfaction with electric cars

man hugging a car in a car showroom

As documented by Forbes, numerous surveys have concluded that most people who purchased an electric car have been satisfied with it.

They have found the machinery to be durable and reliable. They have understood the tech that goes under the hood and have decided to embrace it. 

Why are gas cars durable?

Durability is a subset of reliability. And no other vehicle can top gasoline cars in reliability. More than 90% of cars today on USA roads are gasoline cars. So many people have complete faith in their traditional ICE-propelled vehicles because they have been around for centuries. 

The lifespan of a car engine is expected to be approximately 6-8 years, depending on how it is used. After that extensive usage, you generally wear out all parts of the engine and have to have it replaced. Gas cars are durable because of their wide use, not because of their mechanics. 

We are not far from a time when we will trust electric vehicles the same way gasoline cars are trusted today. 

How safe is each type of car?

Safety in electric and gas cars

Safety is arguably the most crucial facet of a vehicle. It is the prime reason why you choose to travel in that vehicle. So, obviously, we must gauge the safety offered by both EVs and traditional gasoline cars. 

Discussing the safety of one type of car with respect to that of another is a tricky business. That is because the parameters for safety are not ‘what makes the car safe.’ Every car is designed to keep its occupants safe. The safety of a car is decided by answering the question ‘what makes a car unsafe?’

We must look at accidents that arose because of the engines of each type of car to assess which type is safer than the other. All other safety features are generally the same in all vehicles, electric or gasoline-powered. For example, every car has seat belts, airbags, and tires with good grips. 

Safety of electric cars

Electric cars have Li-ion batteries. Li-ion means ‘Lithium-ion,’ a substance used in batteries, primarily because of its low flammability.

However, defects in voltage regulators or alternators can lead to overheating of liquid electrolytes in the battery. If such heat, generated by faulty equipment, escapes, it can lead to the combustion of the battery.

Most electric automakers have faced this issue. There have been numerous reports of spontaneous engine combustion in EVs from across the globe.

However, car companies have explained that these are not faults in the design of electric vehicles. Instead, they have claimed that these combustions resulted from faulty equipment, which is commonly outsourced. 

Safety of gasoline cars

ICEs power gas cars. While these engines are the most commonly used engines on the planet, they are also more prone to overheating and high-flammability issues.

Overworking an ICE means taking the risk of blowing your engine and rendering your car useless. In addition, engine fires in ICEs can be hazardous since the origin of the fire is literally doused in fossil fuels. Unlike Li-ion batteries that power electric cars, ICEs are not explicitly designed to cut down flammability risks. 

How hard is it to maintain each type of car?

maintenace for electric and gas cars

Electric cars and gasoline cars are designed differently. Each of their powerhouses has a unique design that has special needs.

Therefore, the maintenance costs of each type of car are not the same. Like we mentioned before, electric car engines have fewer moving parts than ICEs. Therefore, EV users automatically cut down on repairing, servicing, or replacing parts inside the engine. 

Electric cars do not need to have their oil changed or have their air filters replaced with new ones in due course. Your gasoline car may have to undergo such routine procedures annually.

On the other hand, electric vehicles do not have to have such spare parts replaced. The only cost of maintaining an electric car is replacing worn-out brakes and tires, which is also seen in a gasoline car. Some studies have shown that owning an electric car may reduce your maintenance costs by approximately $300 every year.

According to one study, a Hyundai Kona will have $4,091 maintenance costs in its first three years for an average of 45,000 miles of driving. For the same distance and time, a Hyundai Kona Electric will have a maintenance cost of $2,970. All those oil changes and spare part replacements add up, making EV maintenance cheaper than gasoline cars. 

However, since we are talking about financial matters, it is time to address the elephant in the “vroom.” Electric cars are more expensive than gasoline cars. A good-quality budget electric car can cost somewhere north of $40,000.

On the other hand, you can buy an affordable gasoline car at half the price. Therefore, it is vital to calculate the maintenance costs before purchasing it because of this wide price gap. 

How much does fuel cost for each type of car?

electric car charging station

Cars need to be “juiced up” for them to work. ICE-powered cars need fossil fuels to run, whereas electric vehicles need to be charged with multiple kilowatts of electricity. Neither of these fuels is available for free. Therefore, we can calculate fuel costs for each type of car. 

Let’s continue the example from the previous discussion. We will try to find out the fuel costs of a Hyundai Kona and a Kona Electric. Let us start with the gasoline-powered Kona. It needs approximately 3.3 gallons of fuel for every 100 miles. Therefore, if the Kona travels 45,000 miles in three years, the fuel cost would be $3,623. 

Now, let us take a look at Kona Electric. A majority of people charge their cars at home. The costs of charging an electric vehicle are not measured in kilowatts but minutes instead.

However, the study mentioned above has converted the metric and solved the problem. The cost of charging a car is somewhere between 0.08$/kW and 0.3$/kW, depending on where you live. Using the median price of charging, the Hyundai Kona Electric, after traveling 45,000 miles in three years, would cost $1,723. 

Yes, that is a significant gap between the fuel costs of gasoline cars and electric cars. 

What type of car would be best for you?

The purpose of your travel dictates what type of car you purchase. However, with the shift from gasoline to electric being imminent, it would not be the worst decision to jump aboard the EV train.

Electric cars do not pollute and are cheaper to maintain. They would also depreciate less in value as compared to ICE cars because the tech is state-of-the-art. 

Electric cars indeed cost more, but the costs pretty much align together a few years into the future. Speaking of the future, you can save the environment by using electric cars.

They are gradually slipping into the fabric of our daily lives as they become more affordable. Additionally, governments are promoting EVs and building the necessary infrastructure – charging station chains – to keep our surroundings devoid of pollution. 

Conclusion

Electric cars and gasoline cars are differently built because they were created in different eras.

Gasoline cars are faster, but electric cars are not far behind. When it comes to durability and reliability, both types of cars stand toe-to-toe or tire-to-tire. As for the costs of buying and maintaining each type of car, the electric variant decimates the opposition. 

Gasoline cars are in their waning phase, and the aura of electric cars is soon to reach its full brightness.

Resources:

Noel Joseph

Noel Joseph has been in the world of motor vehicles for a long period. Currently, he is enthusiastic about Electric & Hybrid Motors and is an independent researcher. He advocates for a clean and sustainable future and envisions utilizing his years of experience in mechanical engineering. His new venture here at CompactPower.com is to organize and simplify knowledge on Electric vehicles. He wants to build a space where people can talk about EVs and associated technologies with freedom.