Vijayagopal, R., Gallagher, K., Lee, D., and Rousseau, A., "Comparing the Powertrain Energy Densities of Electric and Gasoline Vehicles)," SAE Technical Paper 2016-01-0903, 2016, doi:10.4271/2016-01-0903.
The energy density and power density comparison of conventional fuels and batteries is often mentioned as an advantage of conventional vehicles over electric vehicles. Such an analysis often shows that the batteries are at least an order of magnitude behind fuels like gasoline. However this incomplete analysis ignores the impact of powertrain efficiency and mass of the powertrain itself. When we compare the potential of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) as an alternative for conventional vehicles, it is important to include the energy in the fuel and their storage as well as the eventual conversion to mechanical energy. For instance, useful work expected out of a conventional vehicle as well as a BEV is the same (to drive 300 miles with a payload of about 300 lb). However, the test weight of a Conventional vehicle and BEV will differ on the basis of what is needed to convert their respective stored energy to mechanical energy. This study provides a fair comparison of technologies to report the real status of battery electric vehicles when compared to their gasoline-powered competitors.