What Is An Electric Car Motor? How Does It Work?

Motors in electric cars can be seen as engines in conventional cars

Electric Car Motor: working, types
Image: Tata Motors

After a battery, the most important component of an EV is the motor. You can think of the electric car battery as the power source or fuel tank and the motor as the part that actually generates the power.

In simple words, motors in electric cars can be seen as engines in conventional cars. It produces power and transmits it to the wheels of the car.

Motors are rated in kW and batteries in kWh and both these components play an important role in configuring the total power output.

Types of Electric Motors used in Electric Vehicles

types of electric vehicles motors
Image: Arrow Electronics

Nowadays, different types of electric motors are used in electric cars. Here they are:

  • AC Induction Motor
  • Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (PMSM)
  • Brushless DC Motor

However, AC induction motors and PMSM are the most widely used motors in modern electric cars. A three-phase AC induction motor is used in Tesla electric cars. Let’s understand it better with the help of working of AC induction motors.

Note: The induction motor, along with the RMF (Rotating Magnetic Field) was invented by the great scientist Nikola Tesla in 1887.

A Brief Overview Of An Electric Car Motor And Its Working

Electric vehicles motor working AC induction motor
Image: The Drive

One of the most commonly used motors in electric cars is the AC induction motor.

The electric motor has two parts: a stator and a rotor. The stator is the stationary part that generates the Rotating Magnetic Field or RMF. Meanwhile, the rotor is the moving part that spins under the effect of RMF.

When the Alternating Current or AC passes through the stator, it creates an RMF, which causes the rotor to spin. The rotor is connected to a transmission that transmits power and turns the wheels. This way the car propels and moves forward.

Electric Cars based on the no. of Electric Motors

electric car motor
Image: Mitsubishi Motors

Electric vehicles can be configured on the basis of the number of motors used in them.

Similar to conventional cars, electric cars can be FWD, RWD, and AWD.

  • FWD (Front-Wheel Drive): FWD electric cars have a single motor and it’s located between the front wheels.
  • RWD (Rear-Wheel Drive): RWD electric cars also have a single motor, however, it’s placed between the rear wheels.
  • AWD (All-Wheel Drive): AWD electric cars are usually equipped with two motors, each for both front and rear pairs of wheels. Nevertheless, some electric vehicles also have tri or quad motor setups. For example, Tesla Model S Plaid and GMC Hummer EV have a tri-motor configuration whereas Rivian R1T will have up to four electric motors.

Well, we guess, this is all you need to know about electric motors, their types, and working. If you would like to read something more about electric motors, then, feel free to drop your views in the comments section below.

If you like this simple explainer, check out our Short Bytes section. We take complex tech topics and break them into short, easy-to-understand articles.

Shaheer Anwar

Shaheer Anwar

Shaheer Anwar is an automotive enthusiast and writes about the latest trends happening in the industry. He covers topics related to electric and hybrid vehicles.
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