Do electric cars drive differently?

Electric cars are indeed different to drive both slowly and fast. Electric motors offer an entirely different set of pros and cons compared to ICE cars which means that driving an EV is more like driving a scooter than it is like driving a car.

For starters, EVs don’t have a traditional gearbox which means that no manual EVs exist. Furthermore, electric engines offer 100% of the power at any moment which is vastly different from an internal combustion engine which needs to spoil up before providing the optimum power.

Electric cars are not as fast as ICE cars are because they tend to suffer at the top end even though they are way more capable when it comes to 0-60mph times. They also incorporate specific EV features such as regenerative braking which can even mean that you are able to drive an EV by only operating a single pedal.

Electric cars also tend to be a lot heavier and they arrange heavy powertrain components differently. This means that EVs have a low center of gravity while also being heavier while an ICE is lighter but usually with a higher center of gravity.

Specific of the EV driving experience – Driving slowly

Most of us drive our cars in the city which means that we rarely ever surpass speeds higher than 50mph if we are not driving on the highway. If you are used to driving an ICE car you are well aware of how a regular commute looks like in an ICE car because you constantly shift/hear the gears being shifted.

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An electric car has no traditional gears which means that you will not feel any gears being shifted. Furthermore, electric cars don’t produce any noise or vibrations which means that an EV driving experience tends to feel a little bit unnatural and more eager.

However, the biggest difference comes with the utilization of systems such as regenerative braking which uses traction motors to slow the car down even without using the brakes. As most EVs enable you to tailor how much regen you want you are theoretically even able to drive an EV with a single pedal.

EVs feel like gliders to some because they are able to offer a smoother drive. All in all, EVs do feel different while driving slowly, so much so that they don’t even feel like a car.

Specifics of the EV driving experience – Going fast

If you are traveling at a constant highway speed of 70mph you are less likely to notice a large difference between an EV and an ICE car beside the noise and potential engine vibrations. However, EVs tend to be a lot more slippery which means that they should be quieter.

This is important because with an EV you don’t have an engine that can drone out many mechanical noises you’d otherwise hear with an ICE car. As far as performance driving is concerned, EVs and ICE cars are a world apart because EVs tend to accelerate faster yet have lower top speeds.

Having a 0-60mph of less than 3 seconds is rather common for an EV while most sub-3 second ICE cars are supercars. Furthermore, EVs are heavy and that’s something you are definitely going to feel through the corners, but not in the same way as in a heavy ICE car.

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Because EVs tend to pack their batteries down low that ensures a low center of gravity which also ensures that the car feels rather dynamic even though it is fairly heavy.

Everyday ownership experience differences between EVs and ICE cars

Owning an EV comes with a lot of benefits and drawbacks compared to an ICE car. They usually offer more trunk space because they don’t have an engine upfront. They need to be recharged from time to time and that’s completely different when compared to an ICE car.

Going on a long journey is still way easier with an ICE car because you can fill it up in a matter of minutes and enjoy a longer range. An EV takes a long time to charge if you don’t find the fastest available and operating charger on your route.

All of this means that you will have to plan your journeys a bit more thoroughly to include charging stops. Many cities around the world charge you with congestion charges which is not something you need to worry about with an EV.

Finally, most cities also offer specific EV parking which is not something you can enjoy with an ICE car.

FAQ Section

Is it worth it to buy an EV in 2021?

Buying an EV in 2021 depends on a myriad of different factors such as your access to a wall charger or dependable access to reliable charging infrastructure. If you are able to mount a wall charger in your garage and use it for your daily EV charging needs, it makes a lot of sense to buy an EV.

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On the other hand, if you are not able to use a wall charger because you street park a car or your garage does not offer an outlet of any sort, it’s not as good of an idea. Furthermore, if the area you reside in does not offer a dependable charging infrastructure and you want to use an EV as your only car, it’s better to skip it altogether.

Why should I buy an EV over a plug-in hybrid?

An EV is the next step after a plug-in hybrid towards a completely decarbonized car. If you are someone who already has decent experience with a plug-in which means that you constantly rely on the electric engine, you should be able to transition to an EV smoothly.

On the other hand, if you don’t have any experience with either a plug-in or an EV, it’s best to first opt for a plug-in and later move on to a full-on EV when you are familiar with battery-powered cars.

Are EVs better performance cars than ICE cars?

As far as outright grunt and acceleration speeds are concerned, they are. However, that’s the only aspect where a performance EV bests a performance ICE car. A traditional petrol-powered car offers more levels of engagement which makes the driving experience way more fun.

Furthermore, traditional ICE cars tend to be significantly lighter which means that they are both faster at the top end and are better at handling.

Marko Mikulic

Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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