Are Electric RC Cars Faster Than Nitro?

Are electric RC cars faster than nitro

Most RC car models nowadays run on electric, but nitro models gradually assert their quality and premium features. Therefore, many RC players often compare these two RC categories.

So, are electric RC car faster than nitro? Which is the fastest type of RC car? Should you swap your electric car to a nitro model and vice versa?

I have all the answers you are looking for in this post.

Are Electric RC Cars Faster Than Nitro?

The answer is yes. Most premium and high-quality electric RC cars possess significantly higher speeds than the nitro RC models.

This superior speed is attributed to the car’s advanced LiPo batteries and brushless motors.

In the past, nitro RC cars came with a higher top speed than their electric counterparts. It is because they possess more advanced motors and batteries.

The acceleration capacity of nitro models used to be much better than electric RC cars with the RPM-happy power band. Yet, this trend has gradually reversed.

The electric RC car industry is developing at a rapid rate with countless innovative features and product improvements. Therefore, electric RC cars are getting more powerful day by day.

Nowadays, they possess innovative motors and battery technologies, such as brushless RC motors and  LiPo batteries.

These features are prevalent in high-end and expensive electric RC models.

For this reason, most high-end electric RC cars feature a higher top speed, more stability, and better acceleration than their nitro RC counterparts. You can find off-ground and racing RC electric models reaching 40 or even 60 mph/hour.

For example, the fastest RC car at the moment is the Traxxas XO-01, which can reach up to 60 mph/hour in less than 2,5 seconds. This car uses electric energy and features lithium battery cells.

It doesn’t mean that nitro RC cars are always slower. Still, it’s hard for them to compete with the electric models in the premium category.

Electric Vs. Nitro RC Cars: What Are The Differences?

So, when should you choose a nitro and electric RC car? What are the advantages and setbacks of each category?

I will compare these two product lines in the following sections.


There were significant improvements made to electric RC cars. So, the high-end electric RC car models deliver more impressive speed and acceleration capacity.

A Sample Of Electric RC Car’s Engine

Ease Of Use

Most electric RC cars are very easy to start since you just need to turn on the button power. Meanwhile, the nitro RC vehicles feature a more sophisticated setup that will struggle with first-time users.

In addition, it’s harder to maintain nitro models since you can damage their components and motors without using proper techniques.

Key Takeaways

Most nitro RC vehicles come with higher prices than the electric category. However, the critical difference is that nitro cars are meant for outdoor playing on off-road surfaces.

Electric RC cars are ideal for indoor playing on flat and smooth surfaces. Nitro cars bring a loud and realistic sound, but their cons are the difficult tuning.

On the other hand, electric vehicles are the best choice for beginners, with ease of control and maintenance.

If you need more in-depth comparisons between RC nitro and electric cars, follow this video to learn more!

Factors That Influence The Speed Of An RC Car

When talking about an RC car’s speed, you think of its actual and scale speed.

The actual speed is what the vehicle can achieve on the racing roads, while the scale speed relates to the real-life model’s velocity it takes after.

If your RC car can reach 40 mph per hour, that number refers to scale speed.

Meanwhile, a scale speed relates to ratios, such as 1:8 or 1:10. A 1:8 RC car means that its top speed is 8 times lower than the real model.

A car’s speed is attributed to many factors, including gearing, battery, motor, and the car’s surface.

Now let me explain how these critical factors affect the speed of an RC car.

The Gearing

Many people often skip gearing as a factor contributing to RC car’s speeds. However, the state of an RC car’s gearing can affect its top speed and stability.

There are two primary gearings, including the spur gear and the pinion gear. You can adjust two gears to balance the RC car’s speed and acceleration capacity.

I recommend adjusting the pinion gear if you want to give the RC car more power and a higher velocity.

The Size

Apparently, weight plays a critical role in one object’s speed, and RC cars are no different. The heavier weight a vehicle has, the less capable it can accelerate.

You can easily see that small and compact cars with thin body shells can accelerate very fast. However, the trade-off is less stability, and the vehicle is more prone to small objects and collisions on the road.


The motor’s power is perhaps the main factor deciding an RC car’s power.

Most RC cars nowadays come with a brushed or brushless motor, which the brushless types deliver a better performance.

Meanwhile, the brushed motor will generate friction and decrease the car’s speed significantly. Therefore, players prioritizing speed should opt for models with brushless motors.

RC Cars’ Speed Depends Mainly On Their Motor’s Power

The Batteries

The past RC car generations used nickel-based batteries (NiMH), while the industry has switched to LiPo lithium-based batteries by now. Vehicles with LiPo batteries possess more power and a higher speed than the older models.

The only setback of LiPo batteries is their fast discharge rate, which means the battery cannot last for long without frequent charging. However, you should always choose an RC car with Lithium-based batteries for better performance.

The Surface

Though it may sound too apparent, an RC car will always run faster on a smooth and balanced surface than when racing on off-road terrains. The small objects and bumpy surface will reduce their speed significantly.

Therefore, if you want to test an RC car’s top speed, always choose smooth racing roads with high traction. Don’t forget that dirty or wet surfaces also hinder the RC cars’ movement.


Do you still have queries about nitro and electric RC cars? If the answer is yes, check out the additional information provided below.

Are Electric RC Cars Faster Than Gas?

Most electric RC cars feature higher top speeds, durability, and a longer lifespan than RC gas-powered models. Therefore, electric RC cars have become the most prevalent type on the market.

What RC Car Is The Fastest?

Traxxas XO-1 is currently the fastest RC car in the world, which can accelerate to 60 mph in just 2,3 seconds. This model is optimized for racing at high speed with optimal stability and traction.

How Fast Are Electric RC Cars?

It depends on the type and price of each electric RC car.

The world speed record for an electric RC car is 200 mph, while the number for nitro RC cars is just 120 mph.

However, most standard electric RC cars feature much lower speeds, ranging from around 30 to 40 miles per hour.

How Long Do RC Nitro Engines Last?

Standard RC nitro engines can last around 20 to 30 hours of running time. It also depends on how you maintain the car and its durability.

Premium RC products can last for much longer with proper maintenance.

Is 50 Mph Fast For An RC Car?

50 miles/hour is considered a fast speed since most standard RC models can only reach between 30 and 40 miles per hour. However, it’s still far from the world record speed of 200 mph.

Final Thoughts

Are electric RC cars faster than nitro? In summary, high-end electric RC cars nowadays can outperform their RC nitro counterparts regarding speed.

It’s a result of innovative battery and motor technology, plus the significant improvement made to electric models.

However, speed solely doesn’t tell everything about an RC car’s value. Nitro RC cars are slower in general, but they bring a more robust playing experience with loud and aggressive noise.

I hope the answer can help you choose your favorite RC model now.

Thank you for your time!

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