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How to fairly compare EV to ICE motorsport capability?

MoreAgain

Member
Nov 23, 2018
380
426
San Diego
I find it challenging to accurately compare the performance of an electric car to a gas car, specifically as it relates to participating in track events. The classing systems many organizations use, that are designed to level the playing field between ICE cars- like weight-to-horsepower ratio, just don't work as well when EVs are involved for a couple key reasons: 1) Without gearing, it is impossible to keep an EV at high hp and torque. EVs have the advantage of max torque at low RPMs, but once it falls away at higher RPMs there is no way to get it back up. 2) Across the board decreases in HP & torque curves at lower states of charge. To compete with ICE vehicles that may be gaining speed as their fuel load burns off, the EV has to capitalize on the first couple of laps while power is still high. This is tough as we just can't get as many competitive laps in each session. I think I understand (barely) some of the technical limitations behind this, but I do find it interesting when watching Formula E that they race right down to 1% SoC. I'm assuming they can only do this as they don't care if the motor and/or batteries are fried once the race is over.

Just for fun I went through the Scan My Tesla data from my last track event to see how the HP and Torque numbers came out at various states of charge. No surprise - It pretty much follows the Dyno results I've seen posted from Mountain Pass Performance and others, just on track instead of a dyno.


Anyway - I wonder how this will flush out over time and how events like Global Time Attack, NASA TT and others will adapt as more EVs enter and the technology evolves. Interested to hear other's thoughts and predictions for the future of electrified motorsport.
 

MasterC17

Active Member
Dec 3, 2015
1,137
1,865
USA
This is an unfortunate reality. It may have been a factor in NASA deciding to class EV's all on their own. Power drop from 100% to 70% isn't too bad, but it starts to fall off pretty drastically thereafter and under 50% it's like driving the car with half the power. Because of this, TT is really the only logical class for EV's at this time. Wheel to wheel racing would be difficult to do with other EV's, and near impossible with ICE vehicles.

As the technology improves I imagine this will (slowly) become less of a problem. However, we are likely years, if not decades away from being able to drive a 30-minute stint at full power, or do any sort of endurance racing with production vehicles that are reasonably priced. The Model 3 is a huge step up from the S as far as the powertrain is concerned, but there is a long road ahead. For example, even if the Plaid S has a 110kWh pack, how long will it really be able to sustain 800hp?

That is what is so cool about Formula E - they can explore the limits of the technology without really worrying about a budget!
 

Mash

Supporting Member
Nov 10, 2019
950
694
Prague
With supercapacitors buffer, you can get acceleration and brake at full motor power (instead of 20% as it is now at regen).
With that - you can use same battery pack as now and pretty much sit at motor power limit down to the empty battery.
Nothing really stops Tesla from eventually making a new battery pack for M3P to do exactly that.
I assume that's how it will be done in Roadster.

All-graphene battery that weights as M3 pack would make >4000 hp...
 
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AltLogic

Member
May 14, 2018
252
309
SoCal
I believe that the only way to allow all cars to compete with each other is to name a mandatory compliance sensor on all Time Trial cars. For example, NASA names a specific model that they will use for compliance along with what settings they will use. Unfortunately the settings will have to be location and weather dependent. A competitor would be able to meet their required power to weight ratio on track using the same device and settings that will be used that day. The driver would use the first session that day using their personal device to ensure compliance. NASA would also put said device on front running cars to ensure compliance. This is the same opinion I had when competing against turbo cars with hood mounted intercoolers. They always developed low hp on the dyno after a session even though they easily would out accelerate me on the straights.
 

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