Electric Vehicles 101 - How Does An Electric Car Work?

by Vivaan Khatri | 06/10/2020
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Electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular. However, not many people are familiar with electric vehicles. IndianAuto will give you a full explanation of how an electric car work.

Electric vehicles are considered the future of the automotive industry. At the moment, almost every big car brand is working hard to advance their electrification technologies and gain an advantage before the EV revolution takes place in the mass market.

electric vehicle charging station in india

In India, even though the facility for EVs is not developed yet, there are some car manufacturers that have already taken their first steps in the EV segment while the rest is planning their way for the EV-oriented future.

At the moment, Indian customers are not at home with the concept of electric cars. However, we still have time to educate ourselves about electric vehicles before they become the norms in the market. To get you acquainted with electric vehicles, IndianAuto will give you the full explanation of how an electric car works.

How does an electric car work?

Unlike the traditional vehicles which make use of the internal combustion engines, the electric vehicles utilize a different drivetrain setting. On an electric vehicle, instead of an ICE, it employs the electric motor which sources power from the battery pack instead of the fuel tank. The battery on an electric vehicle is rechargeable. It can be charged by different power outlet types.

Since the electric vehicles run on electricity, they do not emit exhaust into the air. For this reason, electric vehicles are also widely known as environmental-friendly cars. This is also one of the major reasons why the EV can attract attention from the customers and the people in the industry.

What are the key components of an EV?

To know more about the operation inside an electric vehicle, it is important to take a look at the key components of an EV and their functions.

  • Battery: Battery is where the electricity is stored. To propel a car, the battery is required to have a large capacity. The capacity of an EV battery is measured in kW. The higher the kW is, the longer the car can run in one charge.

  • Electric Motor: If the conventional cars make use of the internal combustion engine, the electric cars rely on the electric motor. The electrical energy from the battery will power the electric motor which generates the mechanical energy that, in turn, power the gears and wheels. There are two types of electric engines, DC (direct current) and AC (alternating current). The AC type is more popular.

electric vehicle components

  • Charging port: The charging port is where you plug the cable and connect the battery to the electricity outlets

  • Transmission: Unlike ICE vehicles, electric vehicles do not use multi-speed transmission. Instead, the power will be sent to the wheels of the electric vehicles via the single-speed transmission.

  • DC converter: Converter is used to convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC).

  • Power electronics controller: This unit is used to control the electrical energy from the battery as well as manage the speed of the electric motor and the torque output.

  • Cooling: Since the operation of the drivetrain system will generate heat, the cooling system is responsible for cooling the temperature of the electric motor, power electronics and other parts of the drivetrain.

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What are the types of electric cars?

  • Battery Electric vehicle – All-electric vehicle: This type of electric vehicle runs entirely on electricity. If the electricity runs out, the vehicles need to be recharged and cannot use other fuel types as the alternative source of power.

  • Plug-in Hybrid Electric vehicle: On plug-in hybrid electric cars, the electricity remains to be the main source of energy. However, apart from that, there is also a traditional combustion engine that runs on fuel. When the battery is low, you will not have to worry since the car can switch to running on fuel.

  • Hybrid Electric vehicle: Hybrid cars are vehicles that mostly run on fuel, be it diesel or petrol. In addition, the cars also have an electric battery which is recharged not by directly connecting to the electric source but through the regenerative braking. If needed, the car can switch to running on EV mode.

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How to charge an EV?

Most of the EV cars allow you to charge from charging stations or from other electric sources at home. The charging speed also depends on the different types of charger you use:

  • Slow charging: The charging rate is around 3kW. Slow charging usually takes from 8-10 hours to complete and can be finished overnight. You can use the regular household electric outlet to slow-charge your electric cars.

electric vehicles charging

  • Fast charging: Fast charging takes less time than slow charging. Rated at around 7kW-22kW, fast charging will take around 3 to 4 hours.

  • Rapid charging: Not all-electric vehicles are compatible with EVs. With a charging capability from 43 kW upward, the rapid charging takes less than one hour, from 30 minutes to 80 minutes to charge around 80 per cent of the battery. Moreover, the rapid charging method also requires special charging facilities which are only available at some car brand showrooms/service centres or at the charging stations.

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