Are Nitro RC Cars Faster Than Electric? (Are They Fast?)


Are Nitro RC Cars Faster Than Electric? (Are They Fast?)

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A nitro remote controlled car uses an engine fueled by a methanol based fuel that contains nitromethane. This nitro engine and nitro fuel are the RC equivalent of the gasoline engine and gasoline used in your full-size car or truck.

The electric RC car is powered by a motor that requires electricity (in the form of a battery pack) as the fuel.

But which one is faster? The electric or nitro RC? 

An electric (battery powered) RC car has a much faster top speed than a nitro powered RC car will. The fastest electric RC car can easily top 100mph while the fastest nitro RC will only go 50-60MPH. 

When it comes to speed, currently high specification electric RC cars are a lot faster than their nitro alternatives. In the past, nitro RCs were faster than electric RC cars but, with advanced innovations like brushless motors and the LiPo batteries, electric RC cars are a lot better and faster than they used to be.

Electric RC cars and trucks are also more cost efficient and easier to run than gas and nitro vehicles. When preparing your electric RC car, there is no need to tune it up, break in the motor, and make sure you have backup fuel and tires whereas you need all of that with a Nitro RC car. 

Electric RC cars are easier to use because you will just need to charge the batteries and go. Tracks are usually designed for electric RC cars, and the tires on the electric RC cars grip better on these tracks.

As environmental laws get tighter, electric cars will also be seen as more environmentally friendly.

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To see the most popular electric RC cars just click here. 

What Makes Electric RC Cars Go Faster?

Electric RC cars are fun to run, but running them faster will just add to the fun. Although most electric RC cars are fast, most people (myself included)I’ve to go even faster! So what will make an RC car go faster? 

To make your electric RC car go faster, you can change the battery and motor. This will result in the most dramatic increase in speed, but it is a bit expensive.

Alternatively, you can make your electric RC car a lot faster by modifying the gear ratios. Maintaining the suspension system and wheels is also key to getting the top speeds.

Consider changing the pinion gear on your RC car. This is the one of least expensive and easier ways to change the speed of your RC car. The bigger the pinion, the more teeth it has and this means fewer turns for the pinion gear to turn the spur gear. 

Your low-end power will decrease while the high-end speed will increase. This means that your RC car will go faster although it will lack in power when moving at low speeds. 

The increase in size of the pinion gear should be gradual. Add just a few teeth at a time over time.The bigger pinion gears may increase the strain on the motor and subsequently could lead to overheating problems.

Similarly, you can decrease the spur gear (lowering the tooth count). This will also help your RC car to run faster, because this increases the high-end power. 

However, going down with two teeth on the spur gear will have a smaller impact than going up with two teeth on the pinion gear. You need to be careful not to go down too much, as this can again lead to the motor overheating. 

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Overall, the gearing system (both the spur and pinion gears) has a big say in how fast your RC car can run.

A simple battery upgrade can also massively increase the speed of your RC car. There are different labels on the battery packs. The thing you should be interested in is the type of battery pack you will be using, and it’s voltage.

There are two main types of batteries: the lithium polymer batteries (LiPo) and nickel metal hydride batteries (NIMH).

Nickel metal hydride batteries (NIMH) have multiple cells. Each cell usually has a rating of around 1.2 volts. This would equate to the 6 cell nickel metal hydride (NIMH) battery having 7.2 volts. 

Lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries are usually the battery of choice for electric RC cars. This battery supplies more power, and it is a lot lighter. 

The voltage of the lithium polymer (LiPo) battery corresponds to the number of cells it has. Usually, each cell has 3.4 volts. So a two cell battery will have 7.4 volts, a 3 cell battery would have 11.2 volts, and so on.

It’s a good idea to make sure that the ESC, electrical wiring, and the motor can all handle the higher voltage of an upgraded battery before you upgrade. 

More information on all of these components can be found in the user’s manual of your electric RC car. It really is a good idea to run your RC car at the voltage it is recommended and rated for.

Just be aware that if you run your RC car at a higher voltage than recommended, this could eventually lead to the ESC, the motor, and the other electrical components overheating and even catching fire.

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Also, switching from a nickel metal hydride (NIMH) battery to a lithium polymer battery (LiPo) is doable, however make sure the ESC is lithium polymer (LiPo) compatible.

Can You Change The Tires On Your RC Car To Make It Run Faster?

Three characteristics of the tires affect the speed of your remote controlled car.

The first characteristic is the profile of the tire. A taller tire will allow your car to run faster. The downside to this is that the larger tire will create a strain on your RC car motor. This could lead to overheating.

The second characteristic is the type of tire. Slick tires are a perfect choice for on road RC cars, paddle tires do well on sandy terrain, and spiked tires are great for running in mud and wet grass.

The third characteristic is the angle of the tires. Use a camber gauge to set up the tires correctly. If even a single tire is not aligned, it can result in a slower moving car. 

After adjusting the tires, make sure to check the condition of the shock absorbers and the suspension. This may seem obvious, but this step is often overlooked.

Final Thoughts 

Having a fast RC car is a blast but taking it from the stock speed to over 100mph can be dangerous if not done right. Make sure to follow all of the manufacturer’s directions when changing anything on your RC car. 

You should also keep your RC car clean and free from dust and debris. This will help it to last a very long time, and provide you with hours of fun with your friends and family.

Matt Robbs

I love to spend time with my wife and 3 kids. There is no better way to get them off the couch and outside than for us to grab the RC cars or boat and enjoy the sunshine!

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