Nitro vs LiPo, which one to choose?


Traxxas E-Revo vs Traxxas Revo 3.3

This hobby is all about fun and passion. For many of you (which includes me), like to have more for the every dollar we spend in this hobby. In the last few months, many bashers and racers moved to LiPo batteries because of their performance and runtime. Recently, Traxxas released the E-Revo which is the electric version of the popular Revo. I took both trucks and compared them to find out which gives you the more for the money. The good old nitro or the new Lipo…

Item LiPo Nitro Item selected
Vehicle 440 460  Nitro vs LiPo, which one to choose? Articles
Traxxas E-Revo

Nitro vs LiPo, which one to choose? Articles
Traxxas Revo
Battery 550 Not Required Nitro vs LiPo, which one to choose? Articles
MaxAmps E-Revo kit Dual 8000HV 7.4V
Misc 30 Not Required Nitro vs LiPo, which one to choose? Articles
MaxAmps Novak Smart Stop 4S
Power Supply for the charger 85 Not Required Nitro vs LiPo, which one to choose? Articles
Ofna Power Supply
Battery pack for EZ-Start Not Required 27 Nitro vs LiPo, which one to choose? Articles
Team Associated Wolfpack 6C 7.2V 3600mAh
Charger for battery pack (EZ-Start) Not Required 50 Nitro vs LiPo, which one to choose? Articles
DuraTrax Onyx 210 AC/DC Peak Charger w/LCD
Glow Plug Not Required 6 Nitro vs LiPo, which one to choose? Articles
OS LC4 Glow Plug
Fuel Not Required 35 Nitro vs LiPo, which one to choose? Articles
Byron Gen 2 Race Fuel
Total 1105$ 578$

The numbers…

Nitro

Street price for a gallon of fuel: 35$us
Fuel in a gallon: 3786ml
Fuel in a tank: 150ml
Number of fuel tank in a gallon: 25.24
Runtime on a single fuel tank: approx 9 minutes
Total runtime on a gallon: 227.16 minutes (3.79 hour)
Cost per fuel tank: 1.39$us
Cost per minute of runtime for 1 gallon: 0.15$us (This doesn’t include glow plugs, air filter oil, replacement engine and others specific parts to nitro like clutch shoes that will need to be replaced with time).

LiPo

According to MaxAmps, their LiPo packs has enough power for 30 minutes of runtime which equals to four tanks (600ml) on the Revo.

Street price for LiPo Pack: 340$ (MaxAmps E-Revo kit Dual 8000HV 7.4V)
Runtime with a single charge: 30 minutes
It takes only 7.572 charges to equal the equivalent in runtime of 1 gallon of nitro
Initial cost per minutes of runtime: 11.33$us
Cost per minute of runtime after 75.72 charges (10 gallons): 0.15$us
Cost per minute of runtime after 151 charges (20 gallons): 0.08$us

Pros and cons

LiPo Pros:

  • No messing with the carb, just plug and play
  • Less maintenance than nitro
  • Quiet

Nitro Pros:

  • More realistic
  • Odor and noise !
  • No need to recharge, simply refill the tank and you are ready for another 9 minutes of fun

LiPo Cons:

  • Requires expensive chargers and battery packs
  • LiPo still afraids many people

Nitro Cons:

  • Messy
  • Noisy
  • More maintenance than LiPo

Conclusion

According to my numbers, the more you run your LiPo powered vehicle the more you will have for your money. It takes the equivalent of ten gallons for the LiPo (75 battery charges) to reach the cost per minute of runtime of the nitro. On another hand, after ten gallons, chances are that you will need a new engine. So which one is the best? I think if you don’t care to miss the smoke and the noise of a nitro, LiPo is the best.

For this article, I kept everything box stock and this is why I didn’t pick brushless motors for the E-Revo (The E-Revo brushless is not out yet). I didn’t take in consideration the initial buying price (1105$ for the E-Revo vs 578$ for the Revo). I assume the nitro engine, LiPo packs and motors will last ten gallons or 75 charges. In a “real” world, I doubt the engine and the motors will last the equivalent of ten gallon and this is where the numbers change. A replacement engine vary between 175$ and 200$. Such engine replacement will make the cost per minutes grow to 0.24$. Brushless motors and ESC will also boost the numbers of the E-Revo. You can play as much as you want with the numbers; there is no limit to what numbers can say.

Now have fun, no matter you run LiPo or Nitro !

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