Differences Between Driving Gas vs. Electric Vehicles

By: Somerville Auto   |   26 Feb 2023
electric vehicle vs. gas vehicle

Sitting inside an electric car for the first time, you’ll notice that nearly everything is in the same place as it would be in a traditional ICE vehicle. The accelerator and brake pedals are in the same spot. The gear shifter is located either between the seats or on the steering wheel. But, while they may look similar, there are some key differences in EVs.

One speed transmission: 

Most electric cars operate only in drive (one-speed) mode. In conventional vehicles, many speeds are needed because the combustion engine can only be operated in a narrow speed band, and the efficiency is highly dependent on the engine speed. By contrast, electric motors operate over a very wide speed band, and can maintain high efficiency across this band. Electric motors can also provide torque in both directions so a single gear ratio can be used for both forward and reverse, unlike combustion engines.

Instant torque: 

While ICE vehicles take many revs to get to maximum torque, electric cars have access to the majority of torque from a stop. Therefore, EV acceleration is superior to equivalent gas-powered cars. It shouldn’t take long to adjust to the additional power available every time you put your foot down. This rapid acceleration is useful when drivers need to increase speed quickly to enter a highway or freeway.

Regenerative braking and eco mode: 

A variety of EV makes and models have Eco settings to maximize vehicle efficiency.EVs feature regenerative braking, which sends kinetic energy back to the battery whenever the driver brakes. If you brake smoothly, you will recapture most of the energy used by the car to brake. In many EV models, you can see on the main display what percentage of the energy used was captured. 

Some vehicles will allow you to control how aggressively the car slows down when your foot comes off the accelerator. Regenerative braking can help train vehicle operators to accelerate and stop smoothly, by using a single pedal for most of their driving, thereby conserving energy and range. One-pedal driving is also useful in congested city driving, as the vehicle automatically slows when the accelerator is released, allowing drivers to easily slow down and speed up through traffic, without constantly slamming on the brakes. 

No engine noise: 

Perhaps the most obvious difference between ICE and electric vehicles is engine noise. EVs operate on silent electric motors, so you only hear the quiet whirring and tire noise. If a pedestrian or cyclist is not actively watching the road they may not hear a slowly approaching EV.

Did you know?

The European Union implemented a regulation requiring new EVs to be equipped with an Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (AVAS) that produces noise when traveling under 20 kmph (12 mph) so pedestrians can hear an EV approaching. This rule goes into effect on July 1, 2021. In the U.S., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has also published a Quiet Vehicle safety standard, which mandates minimum sound requirements for new hybrid and electric vehicles by September 2020. The rule requires hybrid and all-electric vehicles to emit a sound to warn pedestrians that a vehicle is nearby, when traveling up to 18.6 mph.


Get in touch with the team at Somerville to learn more about how electric vehicles may fit in with your fleet. We also have demo and rental options available so you can understand how incorporating EVs will fit into your operations.


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