Do Electric Cars Have Engines? | How Do Electric Cars Work

November 11th, 2021 by

Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. That’s because these cars come with many advantages, like quiet cabins, environmental friendliness, and reduced maintenance requirements. They also provide a great alternative for people who commute in the city daily. However, most people wonder how electric cars operate and if they have engines. This article will discuss how electric cars work and how you can maintain or charge them in your area.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV exterior front detail of vehicle parked curbside with male talent walking next to vehicle

How Do Electric Cars Work?

An electric vehicle is a vehicle that’s partially or fully powered on electric power. Three types of EVs are fully electric, plug-in hybrids, and hybrid EVs. Unlike hybrid cars, fully electric cars do not have gas engines but electric motors fueled by rechargeable batteries. Fully electric or plug-in electric vehicles have less than 90% moving parts compared to fuel-powered vehicles.

For a fully electric vehicle to function, you first plug it into a charging station, where it receives electricity from the grid. You can charge an EV from a public charging station or at home overnight. The vehicle stores electricity in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which powers electric motors that turn the wheels. Since electric cars accelerate faster than traditional fuel-powered engines, they feel lighter and less noisy. Also, since EVs get all their power when plugged in to charge, they don’t produce gaseous emissions.

Plug-in hybrid cars mainly operate on electric power, but they also have a fuel engine so that you can use gasoline or diesel when your vehicle runs out of charge. These vehicles produce emissions when running on fuel. On the other hand, hybrid-electric vehicles mainly run on fuel. Still, they have an electric battery that you can recharge through regenerative braking, so you don’t need an electric power source to charge it. You’ll mainly switch from fuel engine to EV to save on fuel consumption.

What Are the Key Parts of an EV?

Some key components in all EVs include:

  • Charging ports. Charging ports allow the vehicle to connect to an external power supply to charge the traction battery.
  • Onboard chargers. Onboard chargers take the incoming AC power supplied through the charging ports and convert it to DC power. They communicate with charging equipment and monitor battery characteristics such as charge, temperature, current, and voltage.
  • Traction batteries. These auxiliary batteries power the vehicle’s accessories.
  • Electric traction motors. An electric traction motor drives the vehicle’s wheels and sources power from the traction battery pack. Some vehicles use motor generators that perform both drive and regenerative functions.
  • DC/DC converters. The DC/DC converters transform the high-voltage power output from the traction battery to the lower-voltage power needed to run vehicle accessories.
  • Transmission. The main purpose of the transmission is to transfer the power from the electric motor to drive the wheels.
  • Thermal system. The thermal system ensures moderate operating temperature for the engine, motor, electronics, and other components.

A plug-in hybrid or hybrid electric car engine has many elements that you will find in an internal combustion engine.

How Do EVs Accelerate?

An electric car motor converts electric energy to kinetic energy, which then rotates the wheels. Acceleration in the vehicle occurs as you increase power to the motor. When you press the acceleration pedal in your car, it sends a signal to the controller, which changes the frequency of power transfer from the inverter to the motor.

Most EVs come with two pedals for acceleration and braking, and some have a switch to allow one-pedal acceleration and deceleration. This provides a slow and gentle progressive braking to a stop. The pedal will even hold you still on a hill. In other EVs, you release the acceleration pedal to decelerate.

How Do Electric Cars Charge?

2022 Bolt EV Illuminated Charge Port

There are two ways to charge an EV: plugging it in and using regenerative power.

When you press the brakes or pedal or release the accelerator in some EVs, the motor produces power to send it back to the battery. This is called regenerative power.

The most common places to charge include your home, workplace, en-route charging stations, and destination charging stations. Some EVs can take longer to charge, and you may need to plug in to a charging point wherever you park. You can also charge the vehicle at home overnight.

The availability of plug-in places depends on your location. If you’re looking to charge your car, you need to observe where you park regularly and find out if charge points are installed in that location.

What Are the Benefits of Driving Electric Cars?

Here are the top reasons to consider purchasing an EV:

Miles per Charge

Although they take longer to charge, on average, EVs go a lot farther at a lower cost than most fuel economic non-electric cars. For instance, the 2021 Chevy Bolt EV can travel up to 226 miles per charge at 200 horsepower. Since it’s lighter than gas-powered cars, the vehicle can also accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 6.5 seconds.

Most electric vehicles’ performance depends on their battery size, and the more power a vehicle has, the farther it can go. However, you can also opt for a hybrid car like the 2019 Chevy Malibu, which can travel up to 49 mpg at 122 horsepower.

Less Frequent Maintenance

Since an EV has fewer moving parts, it doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. The only moving parts are the motor and wheels. This also makes the vehicle more reliable. With a fully electric car, you’ll need no oil changes, fewer brake replacements, and fewer engine checkups, for example. However, if you own a hybrid or plug-in hybrid, the maintenance requirements are like those of a gas-powered car.

Special Highway Lanes

High Occupation Vehicle Lanes are available across 20 states in the US, covering thousands of miles. EVs are allowed on the HOV lanes since they produce fewer gas emissions. This allows you to beat a lot of traffic during the rush hours. You can use this lane if you’re alone in the car, even if you’re in an electric Hummer!

If you’re considering buying an electric car, do it. Electric cars have many advantages, and in the long run, they can save you more money. Hopefully, we have helped you understand the crucial information you need to determine which type of EV is best for you. You can also visit Cochran Chevrolet in Youngstown to find an EV and take it on a test drive.

Posted in Electric Vehicles