A Tesla Model X is a large sedan and one of the bigger electric cars manufactured. A Tesla Model X has a curb weight of 5531lbs (2509kg). Weight is based on P100D model
A Nissan Leaf is a small hatchback and one of the smaller electric cars. A Nissan Leaf has a curb weight of 3433lbs (1557kg). Weight is based on a 40kWh battery pack model
What is curb weight?
Curb weight is essentially the weight of your car when it is manufactured, anything which the car needs to drive is included in the weight. Curb weight includes seats, tires, electric motor, batteries etc. It does not include the weight of passengers or any passenger luggage, this falls under the category of gross weight.
Why are electric cars so heavy?
The main weight of an electric car is its battery, this is the power source of an electric car. Electric cars also require a charger, inverter, and motor which all add to the weight of an electric car.
Are electric cars heavier than gas cars?
Electric cars are heavier than their gas competitors. The batteries which are the power source of the electric car weigh more than a gas tank and provide less range. A crucial point to make is that the gas tank gets lighter as fuel has been used, this is not the case for batteries. The electric motor of an electric car is a lot lighter than an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), but there are additional parts required in an electric car like a charger and inverter.
Electric car battery weight
Generally, the battery pack in an electric vehicle is one of the heaviest parts. A Nissan Leaf 24kWh battery pack weighs approximately 648lbs (294kg).
Electric car motor weight
The weight of an electric motor in a Tesla ways approx 70lbs (32kg). It’s quite a bit lighter and smaller in comparison to the internal combustion engines (ICE) used in gasoline cars. Electric motors are a lot more efficient than ICE too. Electric motors have a lot less moving parts than an ICE, this means that the servicing requirements are a lot less with an electric motor.
Electric car weight distribution
The weight distribution of an electric car tends to be better than a gasoline car. In a gasoline car, the ICE tends to be placed at the front of the vehicle giving an uneven weight distribution. Any electric cars that have a battery pack that runs across the whole length of the car will have a much better weight distribution. However, some manufacturers decide to install the battery packs at the front or back of the car which would give a much worse weight distribution.
The weight distribution of a car impacts the handling. A car which has a balanced weight distribution of 50:50 will be a lot smoother through corners than a car that has a 70:30 weight distribution. Having a 50:50 weight distribution means that all the tires will have the same amount of grip and braking capabilities.
Power to weight ratio of electric cars
Power to weight ratio can be calculated in two different methods, the first method is a calculation used for measuring the performance of an engine or power source based on the weight of the engine. An electric cars power to weight ratio, in this case, is better when compared to a comparable internal combustion engine (ICE). The electric motor in a Tesla, for example, weighs 70lbs (32kg) and produces 362hp (horsepower). A similar ICE on a sedan weighs approximately 462lbs (210kg) and has 248hp.
However, using the second method it is calculated the same, but the total curb weight of the vehicle is taken into account. This gives different figures when compared to the example which only took into account the weight of the engine. This would make it a much closer race, as electric cars tend to weigh more than their gas car counterparts.
Are heavy cars safer?
It turns out heavier cars are statistically safer than lightweight cars, statistically fewer deaths occur in heavier cars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) states “as a group, in 2016 very large cars 1-3 years old had 22 deaths per million registered vehicles, while minicars had 61. Of the 21 vehicles with the lowest driver death rates from the 2011-14 model years during 2012-15, only one was a small car.”
The statistics make some sense to me, as the chance of the car rolling over on its roof is less. It would also require more energy from a car crashing into the heavier vehicle to be able to move it.
Weights of Popular Electric cars
In the table below, I have shown the weights of some of the most popular electric cars. I have also included the size of the cars battery pack, as this influences the weight of an electric car drastically.
|Car Brand||Car Model||Battery pack size (kWh)||Curb Weight (lbs)||Kerb Weight (kg)|
|BMW||i3||22kWh + range extender||2899||1315|
|BMW||i3||33kWh + range extender||3234||1467|
|BMW||i3||42 kWh + range extender||3309||1501|
|Tesla||Model 3||Standard RWD||3552||1611|
|Tesla||Model 3||Standard dual motor AWD||3757||1704|
|Tesla||Model 3||Mid-range RWD||3686||1672|
|Tesla||Model 3||Long-range RWD||3814||1730|
|Tesla||Model 3||Long-range dual motor AWD||4072||1847|
|Tesla||Model 3||AWD Performance||4072||1847|
*Kerb weight and Curb weight are the same thing, its just that they are spelt differently in the USA and the UK. This is why the weights are shown in different units as each country has different preferences.