Cars have become an inherent part of our daily life. Most of us can't imagine living day-to-day without using a vehicle. With each passing year of technological advances, the vehicles we drive become even more efficient than the year before. One massive shift in motor vehicles, and a trend many major automakers are catching on to, is the development of the electric car motor.

Every day, more and more people become aware and conscious of their environmental impact, and, in turn, demand for environmentally-efficient and carbon-neutral products has risen. This demand has pressured many auto manufacturers to create cars that reduce one's carbon footprint, are more efficient and utilize renewable energy.

electric car

An Introduction History Of Electric Cars

Although it may seem that electric car motors are something relatively new, the notion and construction of electric vehicles dates back much farther than one may think. In fact, electric vehicles were first introduced nearly 100 years ago yet their rise in popularity on a global scale has only transpired within the last two decades or so.

The first crude electric vehicle was developed in 1832; however, this was a rudimentary model, and the concept didn't gain much traction until around 1870. British inventor, Robert Anderson, developed a crude electric carriage, but the second half of the 19th century is when other English and French inventors finally came along to develop some of the first models for a practical electric car motor. Inventors in North America would quickly follow suit.

During this time, there was also steep competition between other sources of energy such as steam, coal, gas and their subsequent related industries. Yet, surprisingly enough, electric cars quickly became popular with urban residents as they were perfect for short trips around the city. This accompanied the rise of accessibility to electricity in the early 1900s. However, over the next 40 years, there were little improvements and innovation to the electric car motor and gasoline-driven vehicles readily became the vehicle of choice.

Today, it appears that the roles may be reversing in favor for more electric car motors. According to a report by Navigant Research, an energy market research and advisory firm, more than three percent of new vehicle sales currently are electric vehicles. The firm expects sales to reach more than 6 million a year worldwide. The Paris Climate Agreement has also put more pressure on countries and auto manufacturers to improve their efficiency standards, with countries, such as Germany and France, both committing to eliminate the sale of gasoline cars by 2040. 

car engine

Electric Engines Vs. Internal Combustion Engines

One of the primary differences between electric engines and internal combustion engines is the number of parts used in each. With electric engines, there are essentially two main components, whereas internal combustion engines house more than ten different parts. That is not the only difference, however. There are also massive theoretical differences behind each engine and the types of current they both utilize; the two different types of currents are known as Direct Current (DC) and Alternating Current (AC).

Direct Current (DC)

Direct current in basic terms alludes to a type of current where electricity is moved in a consistent, singular direction at all times. The voltage of these currents also maintains what is known as a "regular polarity." Regular polarity means that the voltage does not change over time. Other examples of systems that utilize direct currents include fuel cells as well as solar cells. 

Alternating Current (AC)

Alternating current is characterized as electricity based on both its level of voltage and current in respect to time. Alternating currents also do not follow a single line; but rather, follows a sine wave. A sine wave is a mathematical curve that goes up and down in appearance when displayed on a graph. As a result of this wave, the current and voltage will alternate between positive and negative overtime.  

To understand the fundamental difference of how electric engines and internal combustion engines operate, one must also understand the internal mechanical elements present that allow each motor system to operate. To begin, let's start with electric car motors. Electric car motors are made up of three phase and four pole inductor motors that essentially consist of two main parts known as the stator and the rotor

Electric Engines:  Stator

electric car motor

The stator's three major parts allow it to function. The three major parts are:

  • Stator core
  • Conducting wire
  • Frame

The stator core is essentially a group of strong steel rings that are insulated from one another as to not cause excessive heat and friction. This bundle of steel rings are then laminated together. Each ring has a small slot on the inside that the conducting wire wraps around to form what is known as stator coils. Stator coils are mechanical devices that are part of the stationary aspect of both generators or motors---and ultimately is what the rotor revolves around.

The conducting wire is made out of metal and is what carries and transmits electricity through the electric car motor. The wire usually is made out of tungsten and will turn white when heated by the passing of electrical currents. However, in a three-phase induction motor, there are many different wire types. The different wire types can be categorized as:

  • Phase 1
  • Phase 2
  • Phase 3

This three-phase system refers to how electrical energy and currents pass through the stator. The three-phase system is based on Nikola Tesla's fundamental principles of electrical energy and development of polyphase induction motors. These three wire types are wrapped around each of the slots positioned inside the opposite sides of the stator core. After each conducting wire is in place within the stator core, the core can then be transferred into the frame.

Electric Engines:  Rotor

Electric vehicles are becoming more commonplace. electric car drive systems motor open

The rotor in electric engines also consists of three parts, like the stator. The three parts needed for the rotor to function properly are:

  • Rotor core
  • Conducting rods
  • Two end rings

The cylindrical rotor core is made up of high-grade steel alloys that are laminated and are tubular in shape, with part of a metal rod sticking through its center. The exterior of the rotor core possesses slots on both sides of the bar-like structure and run parallel along the core. These lines may also appear slightly twisted, but this depends on the stator core. If the stator core has diagonal slots on the exterior of its core, it is referred to as a "squirrel cage rotor."

The conducting rods are lined up along the diagonal lines found in the core. This creates the rotor winding. The rotor windings allow the motor to rotate due to the interaction between it and the magnetic fields around the rotor's axis. End rings are placed on both sides of the core in order to short-circuit the conducting rods that line the rotor's core.

Internal Combustion Engines

Internal Combustion Engines

Internal combustion engines work much differently than electric car motors, These engines generate power by burning both fuel and air inside the engines in order to push the engine pistons. Fuel is ignited with the engine and results in a large release of energy. This energy is then harnessed and used for propulsion. Internal combustion engines also require more components than electric engines, such as:

  • Cylinder block/head
  • Piston & rings/pins
  • Connecting rods
  • Crankshaft & case
  • Engine bearing
  • Valves
  • Spark plugs
  • Injector
  • Manifold
  • Crankshaft
  • Pushrod
  • Flywheel

There are also two main types of internal combustion engines:  four-stroke and two-stroke. Four-stroke engines are mostly found in cars as well as other transportation vehicles whereas two-stroke engines are for smaller machines, like lawn mowers.

How An Electric Car Motor Functions

electric car motor

The most essential components of how an electric car motor functions starts with connecting the car's battery to the motor. When this happens, the electrical energy is imparted from the stator through the car's battery. The coils made from the conducting wire within the stator are arranged on opposite sides so as to act in the same manner that magnets do. As a result, this setup allows for the electrical energy from the car's battery to be supplied to the electric car's motor.

During this process, the coils within the motor create rotating magnetic fields. These rotating magnetic fields then pull the conducting rods outside along the rotor and behind it. This spinning force of the rotor, in turn, creates mechanical energy which is then used to turn the gears within the car, and ultimately, rotate the tiers.


As technology advances, renewable energy and mechanisms, such as electric car motors, will become increasingly available as well as affordable. The most notable ingenious breakthrough of the electric car motors has to be its unique utilization of direct currents. Direct-current batteries not only help to transfer more power but also does so with less electrical loss. This definitely helps while traveling long distances, making electric cars extremely efficient. If you'd like to learn more about electric cars, solar cars and their impact on the environment, visit the experts at for more information today!

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