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What Do Electric Cars Run On: How EV Works

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Unlike other vehicles that run on internal combustion engines, an electric car, also known as a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), has an electric motor. The electric motor has a rechargeable battery pack that you need to plug into a wall outlet.

You can also charge it on the charging equipment called electric vehicle charging equipment (EVCE). Since these vehicles run on electricity, they do not burn gasoline or emit harmful exhaust fumes that pollute the environment. In addition, they do not produce as much noise as their gas-powered counterparts.

Electric vehicles are reliable and environmentally friendly compared to the traditional gas-powered autos. The distance you can drive with a full charge depends on the vehicle since each has a unique range, battery efficiency, and size.

To understand more about electric vehicles, how they work, and what they run on, this blog post will outline some insightful information.

Electric Vehicle Components

An electric vehicle has several components that facilitate its running on electricity. Below are some of them.


The inverter converts the flow of electrons from the battery pack from direct current (DC) into alternating currents (AC). The auto now uses the converted current to power its traction motor.

An inverter is indispensable in an electric vehicle because a gas-powered car only accepts direct current, while an electric one requires AC. Furthermore, an inverter directly controls an EV’s speed as it controls the AC power frequency the motor receives.

Charge Port

The charge port allows the EV’s battery pack to receive electric power from an external source. The external source is commonly referred to as commercial EV chargers, a charging station, or electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE).

Charging occurs when you plug the EVSP into the car’s charge port at a commercial charging station or a private residence. For instance, if you have an EVSE that uses a standard outlet of 240 volts, similar to many home appliances, you can charge your EV battery at home overnight.

The Electric Traction Motor

The electric traction motor receives electricity from the inverter to provide the power that runs an electric vehicle. AC commonly powers these motors as this motor type is more reliable and efficient than a DC motor.

An electric traction motor is powerful and efficient since it does not include multiple gears, which you must shift between, as with an internal combustion engine. EVs have almost immediate power from the pedal to the engine.

Traction Battery Pack

The primary function of an EV’s traction battery pack is storing the energy the system gathers from the grid during charging. The system then uses this energy to power all the electric components and the auto’s motor.
Many electric vehicles on the road today use Lithium-ion batteries in their traction packs. Lithium-ion batteries contain the highest energy densities compared to other batteries in the market.

In addition, they produce large amounts of current and will cost you less in maintenance than other battery types. Still, some EVs have an auxiliary battery strictly powering vehicle accessories instead of drawing energy for powering all the components from the traction battery pack.

Electric Powertrain

An EV has a high-voltage electrical system that enables it to operate efficiently. On the other hand, the powertrain encompasses this entire system. The electric powertrain comprises the electric traction motor, an inverter, a traction battery, and the reduction drive.

Powertrains are compact, lightweight, and provide minimal vibrations with instant torque. Some electric powertrain inverters can recover displaced energy when decelerating. They transfer unused alternate current during braking into direct current power that goes back to the battery pack for storage, a process called regeneration.

An electric vehicle runs primarily on electricity, so its road performance and efficiency determine how you charge it.

Charging an Electric Vehicle

You can charge your EV at home by accessing an electrical grid. If not, you can charge from a commercial station. You can charge your EV in three main ways: level 1, level 2, and DC fast charging.

Level 1 Charging

Level 1 charging uses a 120-volt outlet to charge your EV at home and requires no special equipment. However, it has the slowest charging cycle compared to commercial EVSEs. This charging method allows you to go two to five miles range per charging power.

Level 2 Charging

Level 2 charging uses 220 or 240-volt outlets and requires specialized equipment to charge your V at home or use a public commercial charging station. It is faster than level 1 and compatible with any plug-in vehicle. Each charging hour can give you 10 to 25 miles of range.

DC Fast Charging

It is an EVSE specialty that converts AC power into DC power within the charging process. It delivers energy to the storage pack faster than the first two levels. These fast-charging power stations are efficient since they charge an electric traction battery pack in 45 minutes or less. However, they are only compatible with particular plug-in cars.

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