Electric Driving: What Is Torque?

Torque electric cars

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Electric Car: The Basics

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What Is Torque?

In car reviews, ‘torque’ features predominantly, as one of the key performance advantages of any type of vehicle, to include, electric cars and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. Electric vehicles (EVs) offer a number of advantages, when compared to conventional petrol and diesel vehicles. One of these advantages, is the better torque delivery from electric cars, in particular, pure electric cars.

Torque: Basics
What is torque?Torque is the ‘turning or rotational power’ of the engine i.e. how much power can an engine produce. It is sometimes referred to as ‘oomph’ or ‘pulling power’. Torque can be viewed as the ‘strength’ of the car. The greater the torque, the faster the acceleration that propels the vehicle. Torque is measured in Newton Metre (Nm).  
Is torque better in electric vehicles, compared to petrol & diesel cars?Yes certainly, battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) have better torque performance compared to internal combustion engine cars, hence the ‘torque of the town’! If in doubt, look at a traffic light that has both these types of cars. As the signal changes to green, the pure electric car will quickly leave behind the diesel and petrol cars. The primary reason for the superior acceleration in electric cars, is that, electric vehicles deliver ‘peak or maximum torque’ instantaneously, producing immediate acceleration (also referred to as instant torque). However, petrol and diesel cars take time to reach maximum or peak torque. In particular, diesel cars are known for being sluggish. Bottom-line, the better torque performance of electric cars, further contributes to the ‘fun factor’ in driving EVs compared to conventional cars.  

Yes, it is true, in that, many internal combustion engine cars can achieve higher top speeds compared to electric cars i.e. higher brake horsepower (bhp). However, if you are a good driver following the law, you will drive within the speed limit. But where can you use the higher ‘achievable speed’ of internal combustion engines, in particular, in urban environments?  Short answer: nowhere, except a legal race track! Bottom-line, torque does matter, but it does not have to be the most important reason for buying an electric car!

BEVs: Some Examples:Torque (Nm)
Audi SQ8 e-tron Sportback973
BMW i7745
Ford Mustang Mach-E430
Kia EV6 GT740
Lotus Evija1704
Mercedes-Benz EQS858
Polestar 3910
Porsche Taycan500
Rolls-Royce Spectre900
Tesla Roadster10,000

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Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include, the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising large-scale industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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