Open Access

Comparison of the Overall Energy Efficiency for Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles and Electric Vehicles


The tremendous growth in the transportation sector as a result of changes in our ways of transport and a rise in the level of prosperity was reflected directly by the intensification of energy needs. Thus, electric vehicles (EV) have been produced to minimise the energy consumption of conventional vehicles. Although the EV motor is more efficient than the internal combustion engine, the well to wheel (WTW) efficiency should be investigated in terms of determining the overall energy efficiency. In simple words, this study will try to answer the basic question – is the electric car really energy efficient compared with ICE-powered vehicles? This study investigates the WTW efficiency of conventional internal combustion engine vehicles ICEVs (gasoline, diesel), compressed natural gas vehicles (CNGV) and EVs. The results show that power plant efficiency has a significant consequence on WTW efficiency. The total WTW efficiency of gasoline ICEV ranges between 11–27 %, diesel ICEV ranges from 25 % to 37 % and CNGV ranges from 12 % to 22 %. The EV fed by a natural gas power plant shows the highest WTW efficiency which ranges from 13 % to 31 %. While the EV supplied by coal-fired and diesel power plants have approximately the same WTW efficiency ranging between 13 % to 27 % and 12 % to 25 %, respectively. If renewable energy is used, the losses will drop significantly and the overall efficiency for electric cars will be around 40–70% depending on the source and the location of the renewable energy systems.

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, other