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Let’s talk about Torque

Are electric vehicles fast and powerful compared to traditional liquid fuel cars? Absolutely! 

Torque is the amount of force that a motor (which rotates) produces. The power of a motor on the other hand is a function of both torque and how fast it’s spinning (revolutions per second). The faster a motor can spin, the more power it can produce - which is why formula 1 cars, and superbikes scream at such high revs.  

But lots of power isn’t everything. If you want to accelerate quickly from a standing start (before the revs can build), or tow a boat or caravan without revving the engine really hard, torque is what you want.   

This is what electric motors can do. Effortless torque without the revs.  

Lets compare the numbers of the Hyundai Kona, that comes in a turbo petrol version vs. electric: 

Kona Electric Highlander

  Kona: Petrol  Kona: Electric 
Torque               265Nm at 4500 rpm           395Nm at 0 rpm 
Power           130kW at 5500 rpm  150kW at 3500 rpm 

Electric wins. Although they have similar power numbers, the electric car has a lot more torque and it’s all available at 0 rpm. 

The Kona has about as much torque as a turbo diesel Toyota Hilux, or Landcruiser (the kind of car people buy to tow their caravan), and it can produce instant torque in the electric as opposed to revving the engine. Effortless. Torque. 

So what? Electric cars are often critised for “lacking grunt”. But if you ask a petrol-head what the unit of “grunt” is (you won’t find this term in systeme internationale’ aka. SI units), I’m confident they’ll describe it as torque.  What you get with every fully-electric car is the “grunt” that car-afficionados crave.  

Torque: if you want it and you want it immediately, electric is the only way to go. 

Check this out if you want to see video proof of torque in action. Nico Rosberg won the F1 world championship in 2017:

[September 18th 2019]

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