I’ve been a rc cars fan for years now, and as well as many other hobby-colleagues I’ve wondered which is better – “Nitro or Electric rc cars?“. I believe that everyone who is interested in playing with remote controlled vehicles has at some point faced the same question, but the answer is not so straight through, and below I would try to explain my reasons for picking up electric-powered rc cars in all disciplines of the hobby – rc rally cars, rc monsters, rc crawlers and rc race track competition cars.
In fact, I believe that as of 2016 the question of nitro vs. electric rc cars has been solved in favor of the battery powered vehicles and that has come as a consequence of the rapid development of the battery technologies these days and the high quality of the sensored brushless motors.
Back in the XXth century the main sources for power that were used in rc hobby were NiCd and NiMh batteries, which as we all know had many disadvantages. They drained too fast, had an awful memory effect and were much too heavy.
The situation has changed for the last few years. Nowadays most rc model cars go with LiPo batteries and brushless motors, and we have the option to upgrade to sensored brushless motor and LiHV batteries, which prolongs the driving fun to at least half an hour.
Why use electric rc model?
Advantages of electric rc cars
In my opinion the biggest advantage of electric rc cars is cleanness – you do not deal with gasoline, oil, smoke, smell, etc. Most often people move their rc “baby” in their car, and having an internal combustion engine in the cockpit is not a good experience.
Second advantage of the eletropowered rc cars is the easy maintenance. In fact, all you need to do is charge the batteries and have fun driving.
Upfront costs could be comparatively low – depending on the battery type (LiPo, LiHV, LiIon) and power (Ah) the start up costs go as low as a few dollars.
Disadvantages of electric rc cars
As one might suppose, the electric rc cars have a few drawbacks I would explain here. First of all you need a charger to charge your batteries. So you need power source, which is not a problem at home or even in your car, but out there in the open your are doomed if your batteries run flat. No battery – no driving.
Contemporary batteries are dangerous – all of them have the risk of exploding, which is not good. In order to be safe, you need to operate batteries with the reqiured level of care.
Why use nitro rc model?
Advantages of nitro rc cars
Some people say that with nitro rc cars you get the real feel of driving – with all the noise, smell and smoke the experience is quite realistic. In fact they represent a miniature of a real car, including the engine.
During the brushed motors “era” the nitro engine gave much more power to the rc car and it was preferred mostly because of the speed and driving experience it provided. With the invasion of the brushless motors, especially the sensored brushless motors, this has changed. Now the electric rc cars are even faster than the nitro ones.
Disadvantages of nitro rc cars
Not many rc car fans are aware of this fact at the beginning of falling into that hobby, but nitro rc vehicles are rarely equipped with reverse shift. Opposed to that, all electric cars have reverse.