Why Do Electric Cars Have Instant Torque?

 If you are reading this article you probably know what instant torque is but in case you don’t here is a quick explanation. Internal combustion-engined cars have a period of time where the engine has to “start-up” before it starts producing more and more torque, like the incline of a roller coaster. Electric cars however have something called “instant torque” which is to say that the car is able to have a maximum amount of torque from 0 RPMs.

Why do electric cars have instant torque? Electric cars have instant torque because they don’t have a transmission and energy can go straight to the wheels. Electric cars are also able to produce this power because the motor is turned by an electric current which is much quicker than the power from internal combustion engines.

Advanced technology in the electric car assists the electric engine in pushing power from the engine into the wheels to get the wheels spinning without delay. That is why electric cars don’t have to climb all the way up to maximum torque but they get to have instant torque immediately provided to the wheels. In this article, we will teach you more about instant torque and why electric cars have it.

Why Electric Cars Have Instant Torque

Instant torque is a phenomenon that electric cars enjoy whereas gasoline-powered cars do not. Gasoline-powered cars have something that is called a torque curve. This torque curve shows how when the RPMs of the vehicle are low the torque is low but as the RPMs climb so does the torque but when the RPMs pass a certain point the torque actually begins to decrease. We will discuss more of this later. 

To understand exactly how electric cars have instant torque you have to be able to understand electric engines. The way electric engines work is that they send an electrical current through a wire that reacts with a magnetic field to create force. This force then turns an armature which turns the wheels.

The power given out by an electric engine is directly related to the voltage that the engine receives. This means that when you floor the pedal, you give the engine a huge amount of voltage right away and allow the wheels to instantly turn at a very high speed. There is no delay with gear, driveshafts, or the internal combustion engine having to get up to speed. The action of increasing the amount of electric current being put into the engine is nearly instant whereas there is the time needed for more fuel to be added and the engine to ramp up. 

Instant torque just isn’t possible with an internal combustion engine because the engine needs time to warm up and get running. The electric engine only needs to produce more power and get the electric current going to create instant torque. In internal combustion engines, there is a period of time where the engine has to work up to its optimal performance but electric engines use the electric current to be at its optimal performance instantly. 

You can put a stronger electric current into an engine much faster than an internal combustion engine combusts to create that same amount of power. The torque produced by an electric engine doesn’t have to wait around for a crank or driveshaft to get up to speed. With the help of electrical current and magnets, it can change the amount of torque produced from 0 to a lot, in only the blink of an eye.

Do Gasoline And Diesel Vehicles Have Instant Torque?

As I explained a little earlier, gasoline and diesel vehicles don’t get the great benefit of instant torque but can work their way up to maximum torque. So the answer is no, they don’t have instant torque. For an internal combustion engine to produce torque, the fuel must be injected into the combustion chamber, be compressed, and burned. This causes combustion to push on the piston and then those pistons turn the crankshaft, which works its way into the transmission, ultimately turning the wheels. 

First and foremost, it is easy to notice that the process for an internal combustion engine to make the wheels turn is much more lengthy and complicated than that of an electric car. Secondly, this process requires that the pistons are moving at a force fast enough to cause a big enough combustion. In simple terms, the pistons have to “speed up”. As the pistons get faster, the combustions become bigger and bigger, therefore producing more and more torque. 

If that is the case, why the decrease in torque after a certain point? Well, that has to do with air. At a certain speed, it gets more difficult for the car to put enough air into the fuel mixture, therefore the combustion decreases in force, and less torque is produced. Without the optimum gas and air mixture, less force is able to be produced by each combustion. That is why we see a decrease in torque. 

Why Having Instant Torque Can Be A Benefit

The greatest benefit of having instant torque is instant acceleration. Maybe you have heard of electric cars having lightning-fast acceleration; that is all thanks to instant torque. Thanks to the high amount of torque that is instantly given to the wheels, electric cars are able to jump off the starting line. There is no delay of the engine or other car parts building up torque to spin the wheels. The acceleration is so incredible that Tesla actually holds the record for the fastest acceleration from 0 to 60 of any street-legal car. 

With instant torque, you never have to shift down like internal combustion-engined cars do when climbing steep hills or in other instances, where more torque is needed. Instant torque provides the same amount of torque to the car, whether you are moving at 55 mph or 5 mph. This allows electric vehicles to climb up hills or other steep roads without hesitation. If you listen, you can often hear internal combustion engine cars revving and straining a little bit to make it up a climb. You will find none of that with electric vehicles.

Does Instant Torque Make Electric Vehicles Faster?

Instant torque does not actually make your electric vehicle faster, but it does make it quicker. You may be thinking, what is the difference between the two? In the car world, “fast” is often used to refer to the overall top speed of a car. Whereas “quick” is used to refer to how fast a car is able to accelerate. For example, a Corvette is faster than a Tesla Model S but the Tesla Model S is actually quicker than the Corvette. 

We go into a lot of in-depth detail about the acceleration of electric cars in another one of our previous articles. Check out the article by clicking here!

There is another drawback when it comes to the overall speeds of an electric vehicle. While electric vehicles can zoom off the starting line, they usually don’t have top speeds nearly as fast as a lot of other supercars. Part of the reason for this is something called EMF. EMF is a force that is produced that counters the force produced by the electric engine. Almost like a naturally produced brake.

EMF increases as speed increases, so the faster your electric car goes the more EMF pushes back and actually causes the torque to decrease. This is another reason why electric cars are able to have instant torque at 0 RPMs because when there is little to no speed, there is no or little EMF to stop the maximum amount of torque from being produced.

While a Tesla can beat Porsches and Ferraris off the starting line, these cars will quickly overtake the electric because they have a much higher top speed than the tesla. This means if you are racing around city streets or curving terrain, you might stand a chance thanks to the incredible acceleration of your electric car. But the moment there is a straightaway of any reasonable length, those faster internal combustion cars are going to fly past you. Nobody is going to argue that the incredible rate of acceleration of an electric car is unbelievable but when it comes to being the fastest car, electric vehicles still have a ways to go. 

Related Question:

Do hybrid cars accelerate faster than gasoline cars? In general, most hybrid cars are slower to accelerate compared to gasoline cars. Hybrids were built for the sole purpose of improving fuel economy rather than speed. Most people who want to buy hybrids aren’t looking for speed, rather they’re looking for ways to save money with rising gas prices. To read more about this topic check out our full article by clicking this link!

Kyle Cannon

Kyle currently works as a mechanical engineer and graduated with a minor in automotive engineering. His passion for cars is his daily motivator and is constantly working on his projects such as restoring his 1966 Bronco, 1968 Firebird, or modifying his 2022 Bronco.

Recent Posts