How much energy is required to make a car go 60 mph?



  1. 0 Votes

    There are a lot of variables at play here. Most importantly— what is the weight of the car? A smart car (tiny) obviously requires a lot less energy to get going 60 miles per hour than a limosine, a hummer, or an 18 wheeler. But let’s use some averages and try and figure out an estimate:

    Car’s weight: 3500 lbs

    Speed: 60 miles per hour

    Efficiency of engine/drivetrain: 15 percent

    We have to use some physics equations:

    KE = 1/2 mv^2

    We need to convert (this is why the english standard system is weak)

    3500 lbs x (1 kg / 2.2 lbs) = 1587.573 kg

    and 60 mph to meters per second =  96560.64 m / 3600 seconds = 26.8224 m/s

    OK now we know how much energy the thing will have = .5 x 1587.573 x (26.8224 ^2) = .5 x 1587.573 x 719.44114 = 571,082.66 joules of energy — but that’s how much actually got to the drive train — remember this number is only 15 percent of the total energy used: so we will use another formula:

    .15 x T (the total amount of energy the engine burned up from the fuel) = 571,082.66

    T = 571,082.66 / .15 = 3,807,217.7 joules which converts to about a kilowatt hour of energy

    or exactly 1.057560472  kWh ! 


    Any physics experts out there willing to check my work?

    KE=.5 x mass x (speed squared)


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