Electric car engines consist of the electric car motor, the controller and the electric car battery. The gasoline engine used in a conventional car is replaced with an electric motor in an electric car. This motor gets its power from the controller, which in turn gets its power from an array of rechargeable batteries. The electric car is powered by electricity stored in the car’s batteries and its primary function is to provide a mode of transportation that is least polluting to the environment. Since tailpipe emissions of electric cars are non-existent, there is no release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and hence electric cars are popular in this day of increased concern about global warming.
The controller of the car delivers electric current to the motor from the car’s batteries when you press the pedal of the car, and this in turn accelerates the vehicle. When the car is idle, no electricity is delivered to the motor and hence the car uses no energy when it’s idling. The car batteries need to be charged from an electricity outlet in your home and usually 6 to 8 hours of recharging are required to completely recharge the batteries. The number of miles the car can travel between charges is known as the range of the car. With improved technology, the range has increased from a mere 40 miles to an average 100 miles for most electric cars available today.
There are 2 types of motors used in electric cars- the DC motor and the AC motor. The Direct Current or DC motors are used to generate between 96 and 192 volts of electricity and are used to provide short bursts of energy for acceleration. The Alternate Current or AC motors are driven by alternating currents and can generate up to 240 volts of electricity. DC motors use the current directly whereas AC motors require an inverter to convert the direct current into an alternating current for the motor. DC motors are cheaper than AC motors, hence, at present DC motors are more popular than AC motors, but AC motors are better for high speed driving for longer periods of time.
The age old lead-acid batteries are used in most conversions, although they are cheap and easy to recycle, the car’s range is limited to 50 miles only. Lithium ion batteries are more expensive, but are capable of producing more power for longer periods, and hence the car has a range of 100 miles between charges. Lithium ion batteries have graphite electrodes. Researchers are trying to invent a battery that uses silicon nanotube electrodes. Such a battery would have the capacity to store 10 times more charge than conventional lithium ion batteries, and hence an electric car powered with such batteries would have a greater range. These batteries would be more expensive than lithium ion batteries with graphite electrodes, but the higher range would make them more convenient to use.
Thus, depending upon your budgetary requirements and the use of the car, you can determine which type of engine, motor and battery will be best suited for your electric car.