Electric powered cars are becoming popular in the present time because of the ever-increasing fuel problems. In fact, there are about 250,000 electric hybrid vehicles being sold every year since 2007. With this, electric charging stations are now found throughout the United States.
Electric cars are known to be very efficient and they consume less energy making them environmental friendly automobiles. But have you ever wondered what the components of an electric powered car’s engine are, and how they work?
Primary Components of an Electric Car
An electric powered car has three primary components. These are the electric engine, motor controller, and battery.
The battery of an electric car can be charged through the use of ordinary grid electricity at a specialized power station. But aside from the conventional lithium ion battery technologies, there are also other major battery technologies which can be used for electric cars.
- Lithium Ion Batteries: This battery technology gives extra performance and range. However, it also carries the highest price tag. Lithium ion batteries are lighter than Lead acid and Nickel metal. These are also the batteries used in digital cameras and smart phones.
- Lead Acid Batteries: This battery technology is the most popular. It is also the cheapest among the battery technologies. What’s good about it is it’s 97% recyclable.
- Nickel Metal Hydride Batteries: This battery technology provides higher output and better performance but it costs much more than lead acid batteries.
- Motor Controller
The motor controller of an electric car administers its complete operation and the distribution of its power at any given moment. It acts as a floodgate between the motor and batteries. It helps monitor and regulate all key performance indications such as the vehicle’s operator, motor, battery and accelerator pedal. It has a microprocessor which can limit or redirect current. It is used to either improve the mechanical performance of the car, or suit the operator’s driving style. There are also more refined controllers which are capable of greater accuracy and thus, higher efficiency.
- Electric Engine
Unlike gasoline engine with lots of moving parts, an electric engine or motor only has one moving part. This makes it a very reliable source of motive power. Choosing an electric engine depends on your car’s system voltage. They can be structured to use either AC or DC current. AC motors are less expensive and lighter compared to DC engines. They are also more common and they tend to suffer from less mechanical wear and tear. However, AC technology requires a more refined or sophisticated motor controller.
Other Components of an Electric Car
Aside from the three primary components of an electric car, it is also made up of other components which are important as well. These are the regenerative braking and the drive system.
- Regenerative Braking
As the electric car moves, the electric motor generates a forward momentum and it can be used to charge the batteries when you apply the brakes, which is commonly referred to as regenerative braking. It can recover up to about fifteen percent of used energy for acceleration. Though this component is indeed effective, it cannot generate enough to fully recharge an electric car.
- Drive System
The function of the drive system is to transfer mechanical energy to the traction wheels, generating motion. An electric car does not require a conventional transmission. However, it has several internal configurations depending on the components in use. For example, there are some designs which use multiple smaller motors that power each wheel individually. Large electric motors on the other hand may be coupled to the rear wheels using a differential housing.
The components of an electric powered car are much simpler compared to the components of a gasoline powered car engine. However, electric cars cannot go as fast as gasoline powered cars can. Electric vehicles on the other hand can reduce energy consumption in different ways like automatically turning engine off when the car is idle.
Based on research, users of electric powered cars can save $1,000 or more annually compared to the cost of using a gasoline-fueled vehicle. This can also be the reason why there is a rapid growth in the production of electric vehicles. Aside from helping people protect the environment from pollution, it also helps in saving money.