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A Guide To Fuel Efficient Driving — EVs Vs Fossil Fuel: The Showdown

This is a comparison article for the Guides to Fuel Efficient Driving. They present practical advice on how to increase your fuel economy which reduces carbon produced and saves you money.

This is a comparison article for the Guides to Fuel Efficient Driving. They present practical advice on how to increase your fuel economy which reduces carbon produced and saves you money. In case you missed them:

Part One, Part Two, Part Three

Each facet brought discussed in all three articles is summarized below, compared, and the superior technology highlighted between Electric Vehicles (EV) vs Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles:

Part One

EV ICE Advantage
Less efficiency variation between models in the same class Huge efficiency variations between models in the same class EV
Almost no efficiency loss due to age More efficiency loss due to age EV
Some range loss due to battery wear, at EOL decades later the batteries will be toast. Some to moderate efficiency loss due to component wear, at EOL repair is not cost effective EV
Less complex technology More complex technology (direct injection, transmissions etc) EV
Less preventive maintenance throughout the vehicle’s lifetime (belts, oil changes etc). More preventive maintenance throughout the vehicle’s lifetime (belts, oil changes etc). EV
Less maintenance/repair costs over its lifetime More maintenance/repair costs over its lifetime EV
Higher upfront cost Lower upfront cost ICE
Lower lifetime total cost Higher lifetime total cost EV
Low tire pressure causes efficiency loss Low tire pressure causes efficiency loss Neither
Aerodynamics are easier to optimize at the design stage due to less component cooling needs Aerodynamics are harder to optimize at the design stage due to more component cooling needs EV
Tire rolling resistance does influence efficiency Tire rolling resistance does influence efficiency Neither

Part Two

EV ICE Advantage
Cold “engine” does not appreciably affect efficiency Cold engine greatly affects efficiency EV
Combining trips saves some cabin conditioning energy Combining trips saves a huge percentage of fuel EV
Zero idling loss, some cabin conditioning loss if needed Incessant idling loss, increased if cabin conditioning is needed EV
Short trips exact little electricity penalty Short trips exact huge fuel penalty EV
Higher mileage in city vs highway driving Lower mileage in city vs highway driving EV
Lower mileage in highway driving vs city driving Higher mileage in highway driving vs city driving ICE
Wind resistance increases as a squared value of speed Wind resistance increases as a squared value of speed Neither if the aerodynamic resistance is the same, but EVs are easier to design to be more aerodynamic
Lower highway speed increases efficiency Lower highway speed increases efficiency Neither
Flat “engine” efficiency curve Varied engine efficiency curves, hard to optimize for EV
Wind speed and direction affects mileage Wind speed and direction affects mileage Neither if aerodynamic resistance is identical between the two vehicles
Rate of acceleration does not appreciably affect efficiency Rate of acceleration does appreciably affect efficiency EV
Typically no transmission Travelling in lower gears is less efficient for the same trip EV
brake-gas-brake-gas-brake moderately efficient brake-gas-brake-gas-brake very inefficient EV
Coasting saves some electricity Coasting saves a great deal of fuel EV because regen + coasting is superior to coasting
Timing traffic lights saves some electricity Timing traffic lights saves a lot of fuel Neither as both benefit
Regen efficiency is typically 66-75% round trip Regen efficiency is 0% EV
Highway stop and go as efficient as EV city mileage Highway stop and go often even less efficient than ICE city mileage EV

Part Three

 EV ICE Advantage
Air Conditioning will increase electricity usage Air Conditioning will increase fuel usage Neither
Winter tires will increase electricity usage Winter tires will increase fuel usage Neither
Clearing body of snow will increase efficiency Clearing body of snow will increase efficiency Neither
Driving in snow/rain will reduce efficiency Driving in snow/rain will reduce efficiency Neither
Wind resistance is higher in winter Wind resistance is higher in winter Neither
Cabin heating uses propulsive fuel in every circumstance.
However pre-conditioning can be done while plugged in.
Cabin heating uses propulsive fuel in only limited circumstances ICE
Headlights are typically LED from the factory Headlights are typically halogen, using more energy. Some are LED from the factory EV
No need for a block heater. Block heater reduces fuel use. EV
An EV is eco mode Eco mode saves some fuel EV
Winter electricity is identical to summer electricity. Winter gas contains less energy per liter/gallon EV
Drafting saves fuel but is dangerous Drafting saves fuel but is dangerous Neither
Avoiding convoys is wise Avoiding convoys is wise Neither
Parking in strategic locations saves electricity Parking in strategic locations saves fuel Neither

 

Not Covered In Any Part:

No tailpipe pollution Most of an ICE vehicle’s operating pollution comes before the catalytic converter is heated up (short trips) EV
Low cost of fuel, often 1/4 to 1/2 the cost of gasoline High cost of fuel and subject to the whims of OPEC EV
Drive-thrus only require cabin conditioning fuel Drive-thrus waste fuel immensely in idling and cabin conditioning. EV

Summary:

EV ICE Neither
27 3 14

In regards to efficiency, Electric Vehicles destroy fossil fuel powered vehicles. And where there is a disadvantage a bit more low cost (and easily made renewable) electricity will typically make up the difference.

Thanks to commenter jonesey for the idea for this comparison article.

 
 
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Written By

I've had an interest in renewable energy and EVs since the days of deep cycle lead acid conversions and repurposed drive motors (and $10/watt solar panels). How things have changed. Also I have an interest in systems thinking (or first principles as some call it), digging into how things work from the ground up. Did you know that 97% of all Wikipedia articles link to Philosophy? A very small percentage link to Pragmatism.   A link to all my articles

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