TLR Powertrain Guide: Electric vs. Nitro RC

Learn about the differences between electric and nitro RC powertrains in TLR vehicles to help you choose the right option for your RC car racing experience.

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Since the earliest days of RC car racing, electric has been the most popular powertrain for general use. The convenience and ease of electric RC power suit all ages and levels of drivers. Unlike nitro, there’s no oily exhaust residue to be cleaned up after every run. Plus, electric technology has advanced well beyond the capabilities of NiCd batteries and brushed motors.

With today’s LiPo batteries and brushless motors, RC electric powertrains easily deliver the high speeds that could previously be reached only by nitro-powered cars. In fact, an electric RC vehicle holds the current world record for the fastest RC car, clocked at over 200 mph!

Take a couple of charged batteries with you to the track and you’re set for a day of electric RC racing fun without stopping to recharge. Electric powertrains are much quieter than nitro, making them better for running indoors — and for racing at an outdoor track or in any public location that might have noise restrictions.

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A nitro powertrain offers the purest, more realistic form of radio control racing. Running on fuel that blends nitromethane and methanol with oil for lubrication, those hard-working little internal combustion engines produce big-time power plus authentic racing sounds and smells. Sure, it’s a little messy and a little loud. Most nitro RC race teams wear headsets to talk with each other, just like the real race teams do. How cool is that! And many nitro RC drivers love the challenge of tuning their engines to get top performance in any weather and atmospheric conditions — again, just like 1:1 racing. You can run your nitro RC vehicle almost nonstop for as long as its receiver battery has a charge.

Making efficient and strategically timed pit stops for refueling is part of the realism, too. The A-mains for 1/8 scale nitro ROAR Nationals last for 45 minutes. At IFMAR, 1/8 scale nitro RC racers battle it out over hour-long mains to take the lead and smoke the competition!