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Home » The “Instant Torque” – Why Your EV Might Not Be As Instant As You Think

The “Instant Torque” – Why Your EV Might Not Be As Instant As You Think

The "Instant Torque" - Why Your EV Might Not Be As Instant As You Think

In electric vehicles, one of the most touted features is the gloriously instant torque that comes with those powerful electric motors. Step on the accelerator, and you’re greeted with an immediate surge of power that’ll pin you back in your seat – or at least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. However, as tech YouTuber MKBHD discovered with the VinFast VF8, some automakers are actually programming a deliberate delay into that “instant” torque delivery.

So, what gives? Is this just a ploy to make EVs feel more “normal” for drivers transitioning from gas-guzzlers, as Marques suggests? Well, not quite. You see, while electric motors can indeed deliver monstrous torque instantly, that’s not necessarily a good thing when it comes to the rest of the drivetrain.

Unlike internal combustion engines, which need to build up revs before delivering their peak torque, electric motors can unleash their full might from a standstill. And that sudden jolt of power can put immense stress on all the moving parts in the drivetrain, from the half-shafts to the gears (if there are any).

As Drew Baglino, SVP of Powertrain and Energy at Tesla, explains, “Another reason for pedal-in delay is to avoid drive line oscillation. At Tesla back in 2013, we developed sophisticated active damping controls to enable a butter-smooth yet responsive pedal without triggering half-shaft resonances or harsh sounding gear meshing/unmeshing as motor torque changes sign from drive to regen.”

In other words, that split-second delay is an engineering solution to prevent unwanted vibrations, resonances, and excess wear on the drivetrain components. It’s a delicate dance, a “torque tango” if you will, where automakers have to strike a balance between delivering that exhilarating EV punch and ensuring long-term reliability.

And it’s not just about longevity; these torque management systems also contribute to a smoother, more refined driving experience. After all, who wants their fancy electric vehicle to sound like a bucket of bolts every time they mash the accelerator?

So, the next time you find yourself wondering why your EV isn’t quite as “instant” as you’d hoped, remember that it’s all part of a carefully choreographed engineering ballet. Sure, it might not be as thrilling as that neck-snapping torque hit, but it’s a small price to pay for a drivetrain that’ll keep on dancing for years to come.

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