How electric motors work in electric vehicles

Electric motors

An electric motor is the driving force behind an EV, converting electrical energy into mechanical energy and thus powering the vehicle.

Most EVs use one or more electric motors that drive the vehicle’s wheels, with one or more controller units that manage the speed, torque, power, and direction of the electric motors.

This article provides concise answers to the most common questions about electric motors in electric vehicles.

Let’s jump in!

How do electric motors produce instant torque?

Electric motors produce instant power and torque because they rely on magnetic forces rather than chemical reactions to produce rotational force.

A magnet in the electric motor produces a field of electromagnetic force that interacts with an armature, or a coil of wire wrapped around the motor’s axle.

When electricity is supplied to this coil, electrons move through the wire, which produces a magnetic field that is opposite to the one of the magnet. This opposition of magnetic forces causes the motor to rotate, producing instant torque.

Why do electric motors not have gears?

Electric motors do not need gears because they produce rotational force instantaneously.

In contrast to mechanical motors, which rely on fuel-burning combustion, electric motors rely on electricity to produce power, so they do not require any gearing action to produce rotational force.

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Electric motors also produce a large amount of torque, so they do not require gears to increase the rotational output. They are also highly efficient, so there is no need to use gears to improve the efficiency of the motor.

Why do electric motors produce so much torque?

Electric motors produce a large amount of torque because they rely on electromagnetic forces rather than chemical reactions to produce rotational force.

When electricity is supplied to the coil of wire wrapped around the motor’s axle, the interaction of the magnet and the coil produces a field of electromagnetic force that opposes each other. This produces torque instantly, and it can be adjusted by controlling the amount of electricity supplied to the coil.

The high torque output of the electric motor is also due to the design of the motor. There are two or three pole pairs in the motor which carries the electromagnetic force, and this helps to increase the torque output of the motor.

Why do some electric cars have dual motors?

Some electric cars have dual motors to provide improved drivability, comfort, and power alongside all-wheel drive.

The two motors work independently of each other and can give varying power outputs to different parts of the car for improved performance in different conditions. For example, one motor could provide more torque to the rear wheels for increased acceleration and better handling in wet or icy conditions, while a second motor could power the front wheels for improved cornering.

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Additionally, dual motors can provide greater efficiency and improved power delivery, by splitting the workload between the two motors and better balancing the power in different conditions. This reduces drag and increases overall efficiency.

How reliable are electric motors?

Electric motors are highly reliable since they are made of durable and long lasting materials, and they do not require a lot of maintenance.

The main component of an electric motor is a coil of wire which rotates with the help of the magnetism, making it unlikely to experience any wear and tear.

Also, they are virtually silent while operating, which makes them ideal for applications such as home appliances and industrial machinery.

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Additionally, electric motors are more efficient than traditional mechanical motors since they are not reliant on burning fuel to create power, so less energy is wasted and more power is produced.

Electric motors also have fewer moving parts, which also contributes to their reliability.

Why do electric motors make a whining noise?

Electric motors can make a whining noise due to their construction.

Electric motors are typically made up of a wire coil that is physically connected to a rotor or a source of electricity.

When electricity is passed through the coil, it creates a magnetic field which causes the rotor to rotate, but because of the unequal amount of torque applied to various parts of the wire coil, they can vibrate or spin at different speeds, producing a whining noise as they spin.

How efficient are electric motors in electric vehicles?

Electric motors are typically used in electric vehicles to provide smooth and efficient acceleration. They are highly efficient and can achieve 97% efficiency when converting electrical energy into mechanical energy.

Electric motors can also provide instant torque, allowing the vehicle to accelerate quickly, while also providing maximum power when driving at higher speeds.

Electric motors can also be used to provide energy recuperation when the vehicle is braking, which can reduce power consumption and improve overall efficiency.

How long do electric motors last in EVs?

It is generally accepted that electric motors can outline an electric vehicle battery, lasting more than a decade.

Electric motors can last for many years in electric vehicles. With proper maintenance, electric motors can last for up to 200,000 miles or more.

The life cycle of an electric motor depends on several factors including the type of motor, the environment it’s operating in, and how hard it is pushed throughout its lifespan.

James Lewis is our resident electrical head. He drives an MG ZS EV (2018, which he loves) and plans to get the new one soon. James is much more excited by the lower end of the EV market and is looking forward to the Ora Cat.