To bring some balance back between Gas Engines and Electric Power Plants, I would propose giving ICEs Overdrive back, reducing the range requirement to 100 miles, to get closer to the real lower limit in place for Electrics, but leave the extra gallon of gas per bottle of Nitrous, if losing the gallon would reduce the ICEs range to below 100 miles. Make Electrics meet the 100 mile minimum range as well. They will in most cases but if they have a weapon that can drop their range below 100 miles in the 30 turns (or whatever the maximum length set for the duel) they would need either Laser Batteries or Extra Power Cells or maybe just Streamlining. The key is to give ICEs back Overdrive to counter HTMs and whatever minimum range limit is applied, apply equally to both ICEs and Electric Power Plants.
From the CWRQ/ODQ/MADHAT PBEM Rules – On Overdrive for Gas Engines - "For $400, it would eliminate the gas engine's weakness of a low top speed." (This ruling was put in place before HTMs were introduced and was never reconsidered after HTMs were introduced.)
Yet that same $400 can be used to eliminate the Electric Power Plant's weakness of a low acceleration with HTMs.
Gas Engines are required to carry enough gas to travel 200 miles on a tank at cruising speed with one extra gallon per bottle of Nitrous. Electric Power Plants do not have similar restrictions. A car with HTMs consumes power at 1.5x the normal rate - meaning engaging HTMs reduces cruising range from 200 miles to about 133.3 miles (check my math - I may have gotten my formula backwards - but it does reduce it). HDHTMs, which consume power at 2x the rate, reduce the normal 200 mile range to only 100 miles. By the logic applied to Gas Engines, Electric Power Plants with HTMs need also to have a set Extra Power Cells and vehicles with HDHTMs need to have 2 sets to achieve the AADA standard of a 200 mile minimum range.
A similar, but smaller, effect exists with Lasers, Sonic Cannons and other power draining items. A single shot from a Laser starts lowering the maximum range below the 200 mile standard. This would be similar in effect, although probably a lesser effect in most cases, to the one extra gallon of fuel per bottle of Nitrous.
Imagine a car like the Superflash, from the original Vehicle Guide, that has three Lasers. Simply spend $400 to give it HTMs and have it fire all three Lasers every turn in a standard AADA 30 turn limit duel. The Super Power Plant has 300 PU that will take it about 200 miles, meaning it burns 3 PU per 2 miles at cruising speed, that goes to 4.5 PU per 2 miles with HTMs engaged. Thirty turns of firing 3 Lasers burn 180 PU, bringing it down to 120 PU for range. That means the stock Superflash with added on HTMs can only have about a 53.3 mile minimum range. My math is estimated, but I think it is not too far off. I really think that whatever minimum range we set, we apply it to both Electrics and ICEs.
All three of these AADA-only arbitrary restrictions on ICEs - 200 mile minimum range, extra gallon of gas per bottle of Nitrous and no Overdrive, combined with HTMs and HDHTMs swung the pendulum in very heavy favor of the Electric Power Plant. Even in the last few MADHAT PBEM duels, going back to about 2007 or 2008, shows that 31 of 38 vehicles used were Electric and only 7 were gas. Of those 7, 3 each were in Division 35 and Division 40 and one in Division 25 and none in any lower Division.
Gas Engines already have several disadvantages. They are expensive, easier to catch the vehicle on fire and cause it to explode and they have a low top speed. They cannot use power draining devices without a Laser Battery. They are also very delicate. There are several ways to disable a Gas Engine without completely destroying it (several engine Critical Hit Table entries and destroying the Gas Tank without even hitting the engine). Their advantages are high acceleration and low weight. The Gas Tank may be considered both an advantage and a disadvantage – It is a separate component to take damage, but once destroyed will shut down an otherwise untouched Gas Engine in just a few turns.
Electric Power Plants' disadvantages include low acceleration and high weight. Their advantages include resilience - the only way to disable an Electric Power Plant without completely destroying it is to hit it with an APP Rocket (that I can think of??) Other advantages are low cost, high top speed, the ability to power draining devices, like Lasers, on their own and not being automatically volatile. For just $200 (cycles with HTM) to $2400 (6 wheelers with HDHTM), you can eliminate the low acceleration disadvantage and potentially turn it into a high acceleration advantage.
Can you tell I have been thinking about this off and on for over a decade, since I first learned about HTMs in 2050? Hehehe My thoughts are still not complete on this, but I would like to put it out there for review and comment.