Basic Electric Car Engine Overview: Diagram, Efficiency, Tech

October 31, 2012

An electric car engine, is an interesting piece of technology that may one day replace the popular internal combustion engine in many cars. Here are some interesting pieces of information about the electric motor:

Electric Car Engine Diagram

The layout of an electric car engine's components is far simpler than the configuration of an internal combustion powered vehicle's configuration. Sure, there are differences from one vehicle to another and there might be a few extra refinements, but overall you have only four main components to the system. One is the wheel axle that turns the tires. Pulling back from there, we have the motor itself (driving those wheels), which is not all that different from the type of motor that turns a fan. There is a controller (accelerator) that regulates the amount of voltage going to the motor (just like a dimmer switch on a light). Finally, the battery powers the whole thing. If you want to take the process out further there is a charger (which plugs into an electrical outlet) that recharges the battery.

Electric Car Engine Efficiency

In general an electric motor is more efficient than an internal combustion engine. The simplest reason for that is the fact that part of the energy generated by a gasoline or diesel engine is lost in the form of heat. Still, different electric motors will have different levels of efficiency. That doesn't mean that you are likely to find an internal combustion engine that's more efficient than an electric car engine, it just means that some electric motors are more efficient than others. Another efficiency difference can come in the battery charging technology. Some battery systems might charge with a lower loss of electrical energy than others.

Other Differences To Electric Car Efficiency

Perhaps the biggest differences in terms of efficiency from one electric car to another come in the form of things outside the electrical engine system. These factors include air flow around the car, weight of the vehicle and other devices that draw power. Systems that charge the battery throw different power sources (for instance a device that uses the force you ex ert on the brake pedal to charge the battery) also lead to efficiency variances.

While electric car engines (or more accurately motors) might seem complicated and difficult to understand, the systems are actually simpler than the power trains of vehicles that use internal combustion engines. If you take a little time to familiarize yourself with the central concepts, you should have an understanding fairly quickly. You have probably been familiar with electric motors for years, and these systems are just a variant on that device.

Related Questions and Answers

Why Don't Electric Powered Vehicles have Alternators?

Electric powered vehicles have to be plugged in to recharge. Gasoline powered vehicles on the other hand have alternator and voltage regulators that do the job for the car. This is because all normal cars run on an internal combustion machine that charges the alternators to charge the battery when it's idle. Moreover, the load on the alternator is mild as the engine runs on the internal combustion engine. But electric cars run only on their batteries, and there is no internal combustion engine to charge the alternator or to drive it. This means the batteries require to be completely charged at all times, with large amounts of electricity to be able to run the car and to stop it during braking.

Are Electric Motors for Automobiles Cheaper to Maintain than Gas Powered?

Generally electric motors for automobiles are much easier to maintain. The electric engine is generally more efficient than a gas powered one. Most electric cars also run on electricity that has an established cost. The car runs on a battery that can be replaced every three years and the battery has to be topped up with distilled water, which has a very small cost. There are no spare parts apart from the motor, and no lubricants, oils or gears and sparks that have to be replaced regularly. Once the battery runs down, just replace them with new batteries. The Government is also offering rebates for electric car buyers that can range up to $2,500 depending on the car.