ELECTRIC DRIVE SYSTEM OR INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE, WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
What are the key contrasts between internal combustion engines and electric drive systems?
We’ve been asked what an electric drive system is and how it is different from an internal combustion engine (ICE). There is the obvious difference, namely an electric power supply in place of fossil fuels that moves the vehicle. But it’s so much more than that.
As electric motorcycles run on energy stored in batteries there is no need for an internal combustion engine. T&D has engineered different electric motors. All of them are permanent magnet synchronous motors and that means they are very efficient, brushless, very fast, safe, and give high dynamic performance when compared to conventional motors. These motors produce smooth torque and are mainly used for high-speed applications.
Instead of using winding for the rotor, permanent magnets are mounted to create a rotating magnetic field. An electric motor therefore reduces noise and even vibration to a minimum; they do not require an exhaust or produce the sound that is synonymous with petroleum-powered motorcycles.
The next important difference is the gear change. There usually isn’t one on electric motorcycles! For more experienced riders, shifting gears on an ICE motorcycle is second nature. Instead, electric powertrains offer instant, direct and incredibly smooth power delivery, right up to high speeds. Electric transmission systems like T&D’s also open the door to new riders who have perhaps put off riding motorcycles due to potential difficulties in learning gear changes. They can also be safer, with fewer things to worry about and adjust as you ride. We think that the elimination of gear changes will be especially helpful for commuting through our cities where heavy traffic means a stop/start journey, and systems like our LI Forest urban series will help to put this into action.
Electric motors have no internal combustion engine parts. This therefore eliminates many of the tasks performed on petrol engines, for example changing oil, spark plugs, and adjusting valves at the recommended intervals. No more arriving at your motorcycle to find a pool of oil on the floor. Essentially, the only maintenance on electric motorcycles that you need to worry about, besides good battery habits, is brake fluid and tires! This difference alone can make things a lot easier for someone who has just started riding or for those who are perhaps thinking of returning to two-wheeled transportation.
T&D will be giving you tips on how to look after your drive systems in future blogs, so keep watching this space for happy and hassle-free riding.
Autonomy / Supply
The next big difference is refuelling or recharging. With the dominance of fossil fuel gas stations worldwide, petrol-powered motorcycles have a significant advantage when it comes to the distance you can travel over an electric motorcycle. This is one of the main concerns for riders. Currently, batteries cannot store as much power as a petrol tank, but fear not, as advances in battery technology and charging networks are being made every day! Take T&D’s batteries, for example. T&D are already purveyors of different electric motorcycle batteries, engineered to suit different motorcycle types. This sounds like a simple concept, but it’s not one that is delivered by all manufacturers. T&D utilizes a more complete battery testing system, and by tailoring batteries for optimal performance across different motorcycle categories, new benchmarks are being set for charging efficiency.
Electric motorcycles are perhaps currently most suited for city commuting and for off-road and indoor entertainment. These groups don’t require extensive range capabilities. T&D is not satisfied with only supplying these motorcycle groups, however. Capabilities for sports and touring motorcycles are soon to be shared with the motorcycle community.
The fifth and final difference between a petrol and an electric motorcycle is the torque. Most electric motorbikes today have a very significant torque. Petrol-powered internal combustion engines need a few minutes before they reach maximum power and torque, but for electric drive systems, the maximum power and torque are reached almost immediately at 0 rpm. This quick momentum can be a very pleasant surprise to new electric riders.
So, there we have it. Those are the main differences between internal combustion engines and electric drive systems. Technology is paving the way for a more sustainable future. T&D’s electric drive systems are at the forefront of this research.