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Persuasive Research Essay

The Electric car vs Internal Combustion engine in racing.

Since the creation of the first automobile in 1769, cars have evolved tremendously. In the
modern day cars are run by powerful combustion engines even the standard economy car. Throughout
the history of automotive racing the traditional internal combustion engines have ruled the track and
drag strip. Yes, the internal combustion engine is favoured by many on the race track, but as the planet
is suffering from pollution, alternatives will need to be considered. Electric cars are rapidly gaining
popularity in today’s market, proving to the public that electric cars aren’t just as good, but better than
the average car. In fact, Tesla, started off as a small company selling their own electric cars, quickly
gained great success after their electric sedan the “Model S” achieved Motortrend Magazine’s 2013 Car
of the year (MacKenzie). Electric cars are slowly showing that they are capable of doing more than just
driving the streets. Back in 2011, a hybrid built rally car was banned from Formula 1000 for being too
fast on pavement (Spinelli). It contained a small gasoline powered engine which was not very powerful
but it also had the help of an electric motor (Spinelli). As a result it demolished the competition, the
hybrid performed at a level that the combustion engines just couldn’t keep up with (Spinelli). Therefore
electric cars are better performers in motorsports than internal combustion engine powered cars.

Some may argue that gasoline is the most accessible and efficient way of fueling a race car, in
most cases that isn’t necessarily true. Gasoline powered race cars normally use some sort of special race
fuel depending on the type of race (Do Race cars). Depending on the case, race fuel doesn’t always give
significant gains, a test was held by Westech proving that it only produced minimal gains compared to
pump gas (Miles). Race fuel isn’t easy to find either as it’s only sold by specific dealers. It is like looking
for a lost child at the mall, you won’t find it at just any gas station. On the other hand electric cars don’t
have a “race fuel”, it uses the same electricity that comes from the outlet on the wall. Internal
combustion engines are fully dependent on gasoline. As the rules in racing competitions change it is
getting more and more difficult for race teams to manage their mileage. For example, for 2014, Formula
1 changed their fuel rule by decreasing the amount of fuel allowed to be used to a maximum of 100 kg
(Noble). Engines take quite a beating after long periods of driving, due to the fact that internal
combustion engines basically creates explosions using the gasoline (Internal Combustion). All this isn’t a
problem for electric car, that’s the beauty of it.

Electric cars are often looked down upon because they are said to lack speed. The truth is that
electric cars can produce just as much power as an internal combustion engine can if not more. The
Drayson B12/69 EV prototype car by Drayson racing beat the land record at Elvington, England with a
whopping speed of 205 mph (Lingeman). The Drayson was running purely on an electric motor and the
car weighting only 2204 pounds (Lingeman). The Drayson is currently the fastest electric race car in the
world (Carney). Leaving race cars aside, some of the fastest street cars are hybrids like the Ferrari
LaFerrari, Mclaren P1 and the Porsche 918 ,all going over 200 mph (Horrell). There are prototypes yet to
be released for production like the VOLAR-e, an electric supercar containing 1000 horsepower (Ingram).
In comparison, the VOLAR-e has more horsepower than a Ferrari Enzo and 2 Honda Civics combined.
Therefore electric cars are capable of being faster than combustion engine powered cars.

Electric cars have much more potential on the track than combustion powered cars. First off, an
electric car could beat any combustion powered car 0-60 on even playing fields. A man named John
Waters challenged a fast corvette to a race with his basic electric compact, his only regulation was that it
was a race from 0-60 mph (Dye). When John Waters was asked if he ever won, he responded, “We never
lost a race.”(Dye). The reason for this is because electric cars have 100 percent of the power can be
accessed and used at any time, this is called instant torque (Borras). Combustion engines can’t achieve
instant torque because they gradually accelerate while electric cars are able to go full out from a
standstill (Handwerk). In a short drag race or a twisty track with sharp turns, electric cars could take
advantage of this with the instant torque. On sharp turns, race cars slowdown in order to make the turn,
and speed they exit the turn at is an important factor to winning the race. Since electric cars have
instant torque they can accelerate out of turns much quicker than combustion powered cars. Electric
cars can survive longer on the track with the modern technology like solar panels and regenerative
braking. Companies are coming up with creative ways store more energy in cars. Some cars like the
Fisker Karma and Toyota Prius have solar panels on the roof of the car to power fans or store electricity
(Sparkes). Regenerative braking is slowly being incorporated into cars today. Regenerative braking is
basically a system that creates electricity when the brakes are at use. It takes that energy and stores it
for later use (Guy 24). When a combustion burns its fuel they’re not getting it back, therefore electric
cars can last longer on the track.

The environment doesn’t have much effect on an electric motor than it does on a combustion
engine. Race cars these days commonly use some type of forced induction system to boost power, that
being either a supercharger or turbocharger. Superchargers and turbochargers are both designed to
feed air to a combustion engine so it has more oxygen to combust. These race cars can actually lose
great amounts of horsepower due to the altitude of the racing environment. For example if a race was
taking place along a mountain it would have significantly less horsepower than say if the race took place
at sea level(Do Turbochargers) . This is because at higher altitudes there is less oxygen available to suck
into the engine compared to lower altitudes. With electric race cars this isn’t an issue since electric
motors don’t require oxygen. As mention before, solar panels give benefit to electric race cars with little
or no power loss. Combustion engines also have the tendency of overheating causing the engine to
become completely dysfunctional. Therefore electric cars are more suitable for the environment than
combustion engine powered cars.

As the automobile continues evolving so will the culture of racing. The electric car deserves to
have more attention as it is clearly superior in performance. The electric car is faster, has better
dynamics, and less problems than the standard race cars have today. Soon the world will realize that
electric cars are the way to go and will no longer support a mass pollution machine. Some may not be
convinced, but things will be settled on the track.
Works cited
MacKenzie, Angus.” 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year: Tesla Model S” Motortrend. Motortrend
magazine. N.D. Apr 21 2014.
Spinelli, Mike.” Hybrid Rally Car Banned For Being Too Fast” Jalopnik. N.P. July 29 2011. Apr 21 2014
"Do race cars use gasoline like normal cars do or do they use something else?" 01 April
2000. HowStuffWorks.com. <http://auto.howstuffworks.com/fuel-efficiency/fuel-
consumption/question202.htm> 22 April 2014.
Miles, Liz. “ Pump Gas vs Race Gas” Popular Hot Rodding. January 1 2009. Apr 21 2014.
Handwerk, Brian “Electric Cars Hit Milestone With First Grand Prix Race Ahead” National Geographic.
Jan 5 2014. Apr 21 2014.
Noble, Jonothan. “Zero tolerance over Formula 1's 2014 fuel limit rules” N.P. Mar 13 2014. Apr 21 2014.
"Internal-combustion engine." Britannica School.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2014. Web. 22 Apr.
2014.
Carney, Dan. “At 205mph, meet the world’s fastest electric car” BBC Autos, Oct 16 2013. Apr 21 2014
Lingeman, Jake “Drayson breaks electric land speed record – Video” Autoweek. July 26 2013. Apr 21
2014.
Horrell, Paul.”Ferrari LaFerrari vs McLaren P1 vs Porsche 918 Spyder “BBC Top Gear. May 2 2013. Apr 21
2014.
Ingram, Antony. “VOLAR-e Electric Supercar: 1,000 HP McLaren-Beater” N.P. Feb 28 2013. Apr 21 2014.
Dye, Lee. “The Dark Secret of Electric Cars: Astounding Speed” ABC News. Sept 22 2013. Apr 21 2014.
Borras, Jo. “Instant Torque And Blazing Speeds The Best Thing About Electric Cars” N.P. N.D. Apr 21
2014.
Sparkes. Matthew. “Toyota Prius revamped with solar power roof” N.P. June 10 2009. Apr 21 2014.
Guy, Matthew. “ Auto Correct”. CAA Magazine. N.P. N.D. Page 24. Apr 21 2014.
HowStuffWorks.com Contributors. "Do turbochargers help engine performance in high altitudes?" 25
May 2011. HowStuffWorks.com.