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Lightening the Load on an E.V.’s Batteries

Small zero-emission city cars may have cute faces and small footprints, but they also pack more weight than you might expect, forcing engineers to come up with innovative diets.

Electric cars and gasoline-electric hybrids are hundreds of pounds heavier than their counterparts that run solely on internal combustion engines. For example, the E.V. version of the Chevrolet Spark carries 620 more pounds on its petite frame than the gasoline-powered version. Of that, 560 pounds are batteries.

To improve the power-to-weight ratio and keep the cars feeling zippy — not to mention reducing the draw on the batteries — engineers have had to innovate. When everything in a car is powered by electricity, at least sometimes, every kilowatt counts.


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