An electric car takes electricity from the national grid and stores it in rechargeable batteries. These power an electric motor which, in turn, drives the wheels.
Most electric cars are fully automatic and use a single-speed transmission. An electric motor provides more torque than an internal combustion engine (ICE) which eliminates the need for a clutch and standard transmission. An electric motor also allows power from the engine to go directly to the wheels. This is why electric cars accelerate faster than cars with an ICE.
Find out how an electric motor works and how electric cars utilise 'regenerative braking' below.
Electric car batteries store chemical energy and convert it to electrical energy through the flow of electrons from one material to another. However, this energy can't power an electric car.
The electric motor converts this electrical energy into mechanical energy, providing the power to drive an electric car. They also generate torque thanks to the interaction between a magnetic field and electric current within an electromagnetic coil.
An electric motor is made up of five parts:
Electric cars use the same braking system as an ICE. This means they have brake pads and discs and need brake fluid to pressurise the system. The main difference between the systems is their efficiency. Thanks to ‘regenerative braking’, an electric car wastes less energy.
Braking in an ICE is inefficient. Not only do the brakes create friction, which produces heat as a waste product, they also waste kinetic energy. While an electric car still wastes heat through friction, it can recapture kinetic energy. It is stored in the batteries to be reused at a later date. This improves the range and allows electric cars to travel further on a single charge.
If you’re starting to think about plugging into the electric revolution, you need to know what sort of budget you need before you can commit. Find out how much electric cars cost in this guide.
Electric power is clearly very different to standard fuel types. Is it worth taking the risk? Find out if an electric car is the best fuel source for you here.
'Range Anxiety' has put many drivers off making the switch to an electric car. If you're worried that an EV won't go far enough on one charge, you're not alone. Read this guide to find out how far an electric car can go on one charge and why it's enough for the average daily commute.
Electric cars and ICEs work in different ways. While you're used to dealing with a gearbox in your current car, you don't have to in an EV. Find out why they don't need gears and how they work instead in this guide.
As electric cars do not produce any emissions, there is no need for them to be fitted with exhausts. This article can tell you why the lack of an exhaust on an electric car is beneficial.
As electric cars work in a different way, you have to change your driving style to get the most out of them. Regenerative Braking is the biggest difference and it can significantly extend your EV's range if used correctly. Learn more about driving an electric car in this guide.
Part of the appeal of an electric car is the absence of a manual transmission, as electric vehicles can maintain one speed without the need for changing gears. This article explores the concept of a manual electric car, and explains why this is unlikely to hit the market any time soon.