Electric vehicles are seemingly taking over our roads, and deciding to buy one involves quite a few decisions. One of these decisions is how many motors you are willing to pay for.
Most electric vehicles offer the option of a single motor, which usually results in the vehicle driving either the rear or the front wheels. However, you can also splurge on the dual-motor version and get the bonus of more power and all-wheel drive. Both configurations are great EVs, but there are differences.
What is a single motor electric vehicle?
When an EV is designated as a single engine model, the vehicle in question typically has an electric motor that drives the front or rear wheels. In rare cases, vehicles may have dual electric motors but not AWD, such as the Rivian electric delivery van, which is a front-wheel drive setup with dual electric motors in the front.
This means that each of the electric motors is sending torque to one of the front wheels. Although this is the exception. Electric vehicles that are exclusively front or rear wheel drive are typically powered by a single electric motor.
This electric motor is connected to a single-speed transmission that distributes power to the wheels through a differential. A manufacturer’s single-engine variant is usually the one with the top range because these vehicles also tend to produce less power.
If you’re looking for an electric vehicle and don’t need all the bells and whistles, a single-motor EV might be the best option. Add in the fact that you’ll probably get better range from the single-engine variant, and it’s a total win.
As stated above, the only downside is decreased power compared to a dual-motor variant, as well as the lack of AWD. If you want to upgrade to all-wheel drive, you’ll have to shell out more money for the twin-engine model.
What is a two-motor electric vehicle?
Two electric motors power dual-motor electric vehicles, usually with one motor driving the rear wheels and another motor driving the front wheels. This provides a very convenient method of implementing AWD in an electric car. Of course, there are more advanced AWD systems present in electric vehicles, like the incredible Rivian R1T with Quad-Motor AWD.
There are numerous advantages to having separate motors controlling the front and rear axles.
The first of these advantages is more power. It’s pretty simple; it adds another electric motor that gives the vehicle nearly double the original power. The second advantage is that adding another motor allows driving the other axle, which equips the vehicle with all-wheel drive.
Four-wheel drive systems in electric cars have many advantages over the AWD of a traditional internal combustion vehicle. This is especially true for an ultra-advanced system like the one Rivian employs, which uses four electric motors to drive each wheel. A system like this can send torque exactly where it needs to go.
Gasoline-powered vehicles can’t compete with this, and a twin-motor electric vehicle (although not as advanced as a quad motor) still benefits from some advantages over traditional vehicles, as well as advantages over single-motor electric vehicles. engine only. For example, with two electric motors, the vehicle can choose which axle to send power to, meaning that if the front or rear axle loses traction, the EV can cut power to that specific axle.
This level of control is only accessible through the on/off nature of electric motors. Even if an EV uses an open differential on each axle, the car can still apply the brakes to any individual wheel that loses traction. Such systems are already present in conventional vehicles, but when you combine them with the option to modulate power between the front and rear axles, EVs won’t bog down easily.
Are there any downsides to dual motors?
Twin-motor electric vehicles enjoy many advantages over their single-motor counterparts, such as increased horsepower and the general benefits of AWD. But, the single engine variant in an EV family is usually the most efficient model.
This makes sense, as the two-motor vehicle is typically the top-of-the-range, high-performance model in an EV maker’s lineup. The longer-range Hyundai IONIQ 5 model is a single-engine variant, while the twin-engine model loses some range capability.
This is also true of Tesla, which adds a third engine to its lightning-fast Model S Plaid, but the vehicle loses a few miles of range. The long-range dual-motor version of the Model 3 has more range than the RWD model, but this is mainly due to the larger battery.
Adding another electric motor also adds more weight, but EVs are already so heavy that one more electric motor is likely to go under the radar. Another factor to take into account is the complexity of adding another motor, with another differential, and all the associated hardware to drive the wheels.
Electric vehicles are usually very reliable because electric motors are almost bulletproof, but they are adding more parts that can fail compared to a single car. The last negative point regarding dual-motor electric vehicles is the increase in price.
Manufacturers will charge you more if you decide to buy the dual-motor variant of your favorite EV. There is no way around this; Your vehicle will enjoy the added performance and all-weather capabilities, but you’ll pay for the added benefits.
Twin-Motor EVs vs. Single-Motor EVs: Which Is Best?
This depends on your intended use of the vehicle, the level of performance you are looking for, and where you primarily drive. For example, if you want the fastest EV that will also perform great in any weather condition, you should go for the dual-motor version.
But, if you live somewhere with mild winters and want reliable transportation without theatrics, a single-engine EV will do the trick. Most people won’t find themselves racing their EVs every chance they get, so the power difference between a twin-motor and a single-motor EV won’t be too noticeable.
The single-engine version will also be more economical, so it is ultimately up to the owner to choose the vehicle that best suits their lifestyle.
Both single-motor and dual-motor electric vehicles are excellent vehicles
No matter which electric motor configuration you choose, you can’t go wrong with an electric vehicle. The instant torque will always amaze the driver, along with the decrease in regular maintenance.
Buying an EV also means you can skip all future trips to the gas station, which is more than enough reason to go electric, whether it’s a dual-motor or single-motor variant.