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Old 02-02-2008, 06:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Front VS Rear drive on electric

Can somebody please speak about the advantages and disadvantages of front-wheel vs rear-wheel drive on an electric car?

I know in general, front wheel drive cars are WAY better on snow.

My little pickup truck sure isn't.

I always figured that one of the advantages of converting a pickup truck to electric is that is seems pretty simple to attach the motor to the transmission. It's all a straight line running from the front to the back of the truck.

Seems like the hood of a front wheel drive can get crowded real fast with the motor, tranny, steering, and wheel drive shafts.

I am toying with the possibility of converting a Miata to electric, which as rear-wheel drive.

Again, advantages/disadvantages of rear vs front drive (particular to an electric vehicle)

Thanks in advance,

-Ben

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Old 02-02-2008, 08:59 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Probably easier to do an electric RWD car, but if it's gonna snow, fwd is probably the best. You'll probably have a better launch with rwd if it accelerates quick enough, but fwd seems better all-around.

If you're not much of a mechanic to mess with a fwd, do RWD, if you are a mechanic type, go FWD.
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Old 02-02-2008, 02:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If you are worried about traction you need the drive wheels on the heavy end... where the batteries are!
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Old 02-02-2008, 03:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I just put 160 lbs of salt in the back of my little pickup truck. Wow! I could feel the difference right away.

If I did a small rear wheel drive electric vehicle, most of the batteries would go in the back, and put a lot of weight over the rear tires.

That should really make the thing stick to the ground.
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Old 02-02-2008, 08:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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What little i know:

Front Wheel Drive
-better turning and cornering
-Better traction on slippery surfaces
-More stability

Rear Wheel Drive
-Turns wider and more prone to "Fish tailing" (this is why in old movies cars swerve more as they turn corners in chase scene than in todays movies)
-Less traction on slippery surfaces (the back end tries to push the front end out of the way)
-Less stability (see above)

More info is found useful in this article by popular mechanics:
Pop mechanics Rear vs Front wheel drive

trust me, i'll be taking some time to read about it.
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Old 02-02-2008, 09:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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actually, rear wheel drive usually turns better because the front wheels can have a higher steering angle and higher caster. Most FWD cars are so much shorter than old RWD, that makes up the difference. Actually, I disagree with a lot of you statements, but I guess thats beside the point. RWD is easy to make because everything has extra room to work on, problem is its stretched out. FWD is nice and compact, but has a lot of stuff to fit into a small area.
FWD pushes, RWD oversteers. either car set up right will handle properly though.
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Old 02-02-2008, 09:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I haven't done any research, but isn't there more energy losses in a RWD car than a FWD one? I vaguely remember reading an article saying that the Fiero puts more power to the wheels compared to conventional front engine, rear drive cars because of the lack of things like rear differentials and drive shafts.
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Old 02-02-2008, 09:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The energy loss is a function of having to run a drive shaft to the back, IIRC. In a EV conversion the engine would like just be in the back.
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Old 02-02-2008, 10:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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From what I have heard, there is a little bit of a loss having the engine in front and the drive in back, but it's not huge.

A car that already has the engine in back like an old VW bug is perfect. Just slap the motor in back there and away you go.

Mostly I am asking because of the possibility of converting a Miata.
The motor would go in front, onto the transmission, thru the driveshaft to the rear wheels.

There are ways to connect an electric motor a bit more directly to the drive wheels, but they tend to be either complicated or limiting.

I saw photos of a Jeep where an electric motor was bolted directly to the rear differential. Thats basically how golfs carts are set up!

This is a nice light car. I think any loss to the rear would be minimal.
The weight of the batteries would give lots of traction to the rear wheels.

From what I have been hearing from people, this setup would be great for an electric vehicle
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Old 02-02-2008, 10:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SVOboy View Post
In a EV conversion the engine would like just be in the back.

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