One of the significant differences between electric cars and gas-powered vehicles is the variance in top speed.
Electric cars have a reputation for having lower top speeds than regular cars.
These are some reasons why and whether it should be a considerable concern when shopping for a vehicle.
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Here’s why electric cars have lower top speeds:
Electric cars have lower top speeds for numerous reasons, including manufacturer specifications, weight classifications, safety consciousness, and battery limitations. Some of the same features that make electric vehicles sprint faster from 0-60 also give them a disadvantage regarding top speed.
Why do electric cars have speed-limiters installed?
Electric cars have speed limiters installed in them, but so do many newer internal combustion engine vehicles.
Manufacturers place these limiters in cars for several reasons, and these are some of them:
#1 Issues With Tires
The tires on a car must be designed to handle the speed at which it moves. Some cars have tires that can only handle speeds of up to 118 MPH without being vulnerable to blowing. Thus, manufacturers limit some vehicles’ top rates to match common tires’ speed class.
#2 To Protect Drivers
Another reason manufacturers limit the top speed on vehicles is to protect drivers and passengers. Just because a car can reach speeds of 150 miles or more doesn’t mean the driver should push it to that capacity.
Still, some risky drivers might be tempted to operate their cars at disallowable speeds for the thrill, exposing people to possible accidents.
New legislation requires manufacturers to install limiters to keep those incidents down to a minimum.
#3 To Prevent Fires and Overheating
The risk of overheating and battery damage becomes an issue when a driver pushes an electric car to perform at higher speeds.
That risk doubles in the summer when the temperatures rise. Thus, many electric vehicles have limiters installed to prevent drivers from going past a certain speed.
The speed at which the manufacturer sets the limiter depends on the make and model.
It ranges from a low end of about 80 miles per hour to a high of approximately 155 miles per hour. However, some high-end vehicles have their caps set higher because they can handle more speed.
A new Tesla model would like to have an extended top speed capability.
What is the top speed of electric cars?
The top speed of electric vehicles varies vastly. The Tesla Model S is capable of reaching speeds over 200 MPH. Furthermore, it can get from 0-60 MPH in less than two seconds.
Speaking of Tesla, see how well it compares against sports cars.
One advantage of owning an electric vehicle is that it is capable of reaching 0-60 much faster than many gas-powered cars.
These are some of the most popular electric vehicles; their top speeds, and the stop speeds of similar cars.
This vehicle is a high-end option with a price tag between $90,000 and $150,000.
The Dodge Charger Hellcat
The four-door Dodge Charger Hellcat has a top speed of 204 miles per hour and goes from 0-60 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds.
The cost of a brand-new Hellcat can range from $31,000 to $84,000, depending on the features of the goodie bag.
If you believe the comparison is unfair because of the Hellcat’s “sports” factor, the Cadillac CT5-V luxury sedan has the same capabilities.
The Chevy Bolt
The Chevrolet Volt and Bolt are two Evs in the middle range in cost. The Volt costs between $34,000 and $38,000. The new Bolt prices range from a little over $31,000 to more than $34,000.
The Volt’s top speed is 98 miles per hour, while the Bolt has a little more pizzazz and can reach speeds of 140 MPH.
The Volt is a little faster than the Bolt on the 0-60 time. It can reach it in 6.3 seconds, while the Bolt takes about 6.5 seconds.
The Chevrolet Cruze is a gas-powered vehicle in the same class as the Volt and Bolt. Newer models are priced around $18,000 to $26,000.
They have a high top speed of 114 MPH but an undesirable 0-60 time of about 8.6 seconds.
The Chevrolet Malibu is also in this class of vehicles.
The price tag is only a little bit more than $23,000 for a brand-new model. The top speed for the Malibu is 124 MPH, and its 0-60 time is 7.8 seconds, only a little better than the Cruze.
The Nissan LEAF is one of the smallest electric cars you can buy today. It’s price ranges from $24,000 to $36,000.
The LEAF is said to have a top speed of 100 MPH and reach 0-60 in 6.9 seconds.
The Nissan Versa is a gas-powered option comparable to the LEAF, and it has a budget-friendly price range from $15,000 to $18,000 for newer models.
The top speed for this model is 115 MPH, but its 0-60 time is an underwhelming 9.5 seconds.
Why do only some electric cars have limited speed?
Some electric cars do not have speed limiters installed. The decision to place speed limiters in vehicles is a manufacturer-specific choice that depends on numerous factors. One reason that only some vehicles have speed limiters is the load and tire options.
A manufacturer may not limit the speed of an electric car if it has special tires to support higher speeds.
Here you can check our article about why some electric cars are speed limited.
Technology is another reason.
Vehicles with better cooling systems don’t have speed limits on them because the risk of overheating is lower. Furthermore, some manufacturers like leaving the consumers with control to operate the vehicle as desired.
Many jurisdictions are now pushing for speed limiters on all vehicles, however. The UK has already implemented a law that requires newly released vehicles to have speed limiters installed. Other countries may decide to follow suit.
Why do electric cars have lower speed limit than gas cars?
The biggest reason electric cars have lower speeds than gas cars is their transmission setup. These vehicles do not have traditional transmissions, which limits them from reaching top speeds while also giving them an advantage: immediate full torque access.
Thus, many electric cars can reach 0-60 in a quarter of the time it takes a gas-powered vehicle to do the same.
However, electric cars are unable to hit super-high speeds and keep the momentum going because of the lack of gears. They begin to peter out, making them perform at a lower capacity than their gas-powered competitors.
Tesla is currently working on developing special transmission systems for its electric vehicles.
The advanced transmission might improve driving range in addition to boosting the top speed.
What determines how fast an electric car can go?
Several factors play a role in determining how fast an electric car can go. The first determining factor is the battery’s voltage. The higher the voltage, the faster the car can go. However, electric vehicles also consume more energy at higher speeds, and thus, the range declines.
The gear ratio also plays a role in an electric car’s top speed.
Another factor that affects an electric car’s speed is the weight and the number of moving parts. Electric cars have much more weight to carry than gas-powered vehicles. Their battery packs and additional framework metals can add thousands of extra pounds to them, causing them to move slower.
The gear design affects the movement of an electric car as well.
Most electric vehicles only have one gear. Thus, they deliver max torque at low speeds and max power at higher speeds.
This operation is unlike a gas-powered vehicle, which has the gears available to push a moving car even faster.
Additional gearing would enable electric cars to reach higher top speeds, but the technology is still being developed.
Then there’s the speed limiting that some manufacturers set using the software. As mentioned, some companies restrict their electric vehicles from going at certain speeds because of the risk it poses to the motor and other drivers.
Others restrict the speed limits because of recent legislation.
You need to also know how many speed tickets you can get.
Can you disable the speed limiter on an electric car?
Some Tesla vehicles provide drivers with the ability to disable the speed limiter. These vehicles have a “Speed Limit Mode” that a driver can be disabled using a PIN code. Vehicle owners can also take their cars to the dealership and request that they are restored to normal speed capabilities.
If your electric vehicle has a software-controlled speed limiter set by the manufacturer, then there isn’t much you can do to disable it yourself.
There were ways to disable or trick speed limiters in gas-powered vehicles, but current advanced technology has made electric vehicles difficult to crack in this aspect.
For example, gas-powered Ford Mustang drivers could program their top speeds to restrict their children from going over a certain MPH or give themselves access to higher MPH.
The Nissan GT-R boosts the maximum speed when the GPS senses that the vehicle is at a race track.
Your electric car may or may not have technology that can indirectly disable the speed limiter, but you can play around with it to see.
Now you know a little about why electric cars have lower speeds than gas-powered vehicles.
Use the information to make the best choices for your next vehicle purchase.