Get 5% off in-app
400k+ download
Open app

What Is an ICE Vehicle? How Does It Compare to EVs? 

  • Cars Explained
  • Celine Jerly
  • 6 minutes

Spread the love

No… not the ICE that concerns homeland security. This is about something common and safe (except for the environment, maybe). And no, it’s not the next big thing after EVs – because you probably own an ICE Vehicle or did in the past. So, here’s a 101 on a type of vehicle everyone is most familiar with: 

Most people own one, and we are all worried about the rising costs of owning one. Get it yet? Pain at the pump? Yes, ICE in vehicles is all about fuel-powered Internal Combustion Engines. In the automobile world, they are called ICE Vehicles, ICE cars, or ICEVs. Some of us can still remember the time they had an absolute monopoly.  

Save on gas
See: How to Save Gas: 15 Tips for Fuel-Efficient Driving 

Now, types of vehicles expand beyond the FFV (Fossil Fuel Vehicle) – the ones with tailpipes. We also have HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicle), PHEV (Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle), BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle), PEV (Plugin Electric Vehicle), and HFCV (Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle) or FCEV/FCV (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle). Does that mean ICE technology’s time is over? According to a Fuel Institute report, no – not at least for a few decades! 

ICE Vehicles or Fossil Fuel Vehicles 

ICEVs are automobiles with internal combustion engines that produce power by igniting and combusting conventional, crude oil-derived fuels like gasoline or diesel. These include ICE cars, commercial vehicles, trains, aircraft, and ships.  

Internal Combustion Engine 

ICE is a heat engine that uses fuel (hydrocarbons) and an oxidizer (air) to produce energy in a combustion chamber. Combustion produces high-pressure gases and high temperatures. The gases and expanding temperature create a force that moves some engine components. The component varies depending on the type of IC engine – it could be pistons, turbines, rotors, or nozzles.  

In short, chemical energy transforms into kinetic energy to propel or power the machine/automobile that uses the engine. While you might know this process in ICE vehicles, there are also stationary applications like Reciprocating ICE or Rotary ICE.  

Internal combustion engine new in a car
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Did you know: Firearms are also Internal Combustion Engines? But due to their high specialization, it’s a separate category, including weapons like anti-aircraft cannons and mortars.  

ICE Vehicle Vs. EV 

Electric vehicles and ICEVs use many similar components: gears, electric motors, coolants, transmission fluid, safety, and braking systems. However, an ICE car outputs more engine power than an average EV and is typically lighter. They are also less expensive, but the costs run higher than electric cars in the long run due to higher maintenance and fuel costs. Here are some more major differences between the two: 

Fuel Powered  Battery Powered 
More engine power  Comparatively lower engine power 
Emits greenhouse gases  No emissions 
Higher range per max. fuel capacity  Lower range per full charge 
Comparatively lesser space required for fuel tank  The battery takes up more space 
Fuel weight can be lighter than the battery  Heavier due to larger batteries 
High maintenance coast  Low maintenance cost 
Lower price  Higher Price 
High running cost  Low running cost 
Cannot recover braking energy  Recovers Braking energy 
Less energy efficiency  Higher motor efficiency 
High engine noise  No engine noises 
Complex gear systems  One gear 
Refilling infrastructure easily accessible  Charging infrastructure growing but limited 
Uses only hydrocarbons  Uses electricity from various sources 
Delivers max. torque as it picks up speed  Produces max. torque 

 Also See: How Do Electric Cars Work: A Complete Breakdown

Impact on the Environment 

The biggest criticism that ICE vehicles face is their environmental impact – not only when you drive them but also during the manufacturing process.  

Yes, ICE cars emit pollutants, while fully electric vehicle technology solves the issue – at least in terms of operation. Ultimately, the effect of EVs on the environment also depends on where and how they source power. If fossil fuels generate the electricity that runs the EVs or manufacturing plants, we cannot rule out pollution in their case too. The materials and methods of manufacturing are also significant factors. However, comparatively, it has a lower environmental impact than ICE vehicles.  

exhaust coming from tail pipe ICE vehicle at gas pump
Photo by Vincent Guzman on Unsplash

Types of Pollution Caused by ICE 

Air: Tailpipe emissions release greenhouse gases and other toxins that dilute air quality. Chemical agents and gas particles are combustion products. The heavier the vehicle, the higher the pollution. 

Land: Oil/fuel leaks and spills seep off roadways and send toxins into the ground, polluting water and damaging ecologies.  

Noise: While it isn’t as critical as air pollution, according to WHO, noise emissions are as harmful to health as toxins in the air. ICE Vehicles are louder than EVs as there are more moving components.  

Materials and methods that ICE automobile manufacturers use also have a bigger impact on the environment than driving an ICE car. It generates waste and consumes energy at higher levels. ICE also relies on crude-oil-based fuels; methods used to source, prepare, and distribute gasoline and other hydrocarbon fuels impact wildlife and oceans.  

Also See: All you need to know about clean cars and fuel efficiency

FAQs – ICE Vehicles

Get quick answers to your queries about Internal Combustion engines and ICE cars: 

What is ICE for vehicles? 

Internal Combustion Engine. For example, vehicle engines that use gasoline or diesel to produce power. 

What are the ICE cars called? 

Fossil Fuel Vehicles (FFV) use Internal combustion engines and can be called ICE cars or ICE vehicles. Gasoline-powered cars are ICEVs.

What is the difference between EV and ICE? 

EVs run using electricity from a battery. ICE cars use oil-based fuels like gasoline and diesel to produce power in their engines’ combustion chambers and turn that into kinetic energy.  

Will ICE cars become illegal? 

According to several studies, the world will continue using ICE vehicles for at least a few more decades. 

What is better, ICE or EV?  

While EVs are more energy efficient, ICE produces more power and is lighter. The current infrastructure is favorable for fuel-powered vehicles while charging infrastructure for EVs is still growing. Electric vehicles will cost less in the long run due to lower maintenance and fuel costs, but they are more expensive to purchase than ICE.  

See: Fueling Change: Global Shift of Phasing Out Gasoline Cars

Harness the real power of real-time price monitoring with Way. Find a parking spot, get quotes for auto insurance and refinancing, find the cheapest car wash and EV chargers near you, and get cash back on gas. Elevate your car ownership experience with our all-in-one auto super app and save up to $3000/year! 

Upgrade to a smarter way to own a car with the Way App! 

Related Posts


Press ESC to close