How do All Electric Cars Work?

There are currently an estimate of 370,000 All Electric Cars on the road in the UK. This number is set to rapidly increase over the next few years thanks to the development of modern technology.

All Electric Vehicles, such as the Ford Mustang Mach e, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and the Kia EV6, are powered by a battery and an electric motor, instead of an internal combustion engine. So rather than putting fuel in your car, all you do is connect it to a charging point.

 
 

How does an EV Car work and what is Regenerative braking?

When you have charged your Electric Vehicle at your nearest charging point the battery will store the electrical energy. The battery will then feed the energy through to the electric motor and turn this into mechanical energy, powering the rotation of the wheels. Where an internal combustion engine (ICE) involves fuel, exhaust system, spark plugs, alternators and many other components, the Electric Car doesn’t need any of those to run.

All cars, including internal combustion engines and all electric, have a way of recharging the battery when moving. In ICE’s the rotation of the wheels powers the alternator which then recharges the battery. However, EVs use a process called regenerative braking. This works by the electric motor being able to move in two directions. One way to power the car and rotate the wheels and the opposite to charge the battery. When lifting off the accelerator and applying your foot to the brake the motor changes direction and starts putting energy back into the battery.

 

 
 

The 5 Key components of an All-Electric Car

Electric vehicle engines are made up of 5 components. The battery, electric motor, reducer, on board charger and the EPCU (Electric Power Control Unit).

Battery

The battery in an EV stores the electric energy, the equivalent of a fuel tank in an ICE. The larger the battery pack, the more capacity a car has,  allowing it to have a longer mile range. However, there is a limit. The weight of a larger battery pack will affect the car’s performance and reduce the interior space. To make the batteries suitable, manufacturers need to maximise the energy density of the batteries. Ideally they want them to be small and lightweight with as much electrical storage as possible.

The continuous cycle of charge will start to influence the amount of charge a battery can hold. The cycle of charge is when the battery is charged  and the stored energy gets converted to produce electricity. Electric Vehicle batteries are predicted to last 10-20 years. Manufacturers tend to offer a 5–8 year warranty. If they offer warranties based on mileage the warranty would last up until roughly 100,000 miles.

Electric car batteries are fitted with a battery heating system and battery management system. The heating system will come into use when the weather is particularly cold, as cold reduces charging speed and capacity. To resolve this, the heating system will heat up the battery to the most efficient temperature.

The role of the management system manages the cells in the battery so they can work collectively. Keeping the cells in good condition optimises the endurance and performance of the battery.

Electric Motor

The electric motor converts electrical energy into kinetic energy to power the wheels. Advantages of using an electric motor are noise reduction and minimal vibration compared to a petrol or diesel car. The EV powertrain created from the battery to the motor and then to the wheels is smaller, creating much more space and more exploration with interior design.

When the car regenerates energy from braking, the motor will convert this back into electrical energy which then goes back into the battery.

Reducer

The reducer works in a similar way to the transmission on an ICE. You may wonder why the electric engine needs one. It’s because the electric motor has a much higher RPM (Revolutions per minute) than an internal combustion engine. The transmission that the ICE has, works to bring the RPM to match the driving circumstances. The reducer on an electric vehicle does the opposite, it brings the RPM down to a suitable level.

On Board Charger

When charging your electric car at slow charging points or from a home outlet, the current produced is an Alternating Current (AC). For the car to charge it needs to be changed into a Direct Current (DC). The AC is supplied from the electricity grid and the DC is the current that charges the battery in your electric car. However, the On-Board Charger runs depending on the type of charging point you are using. The fast and rapid charging points don’t need to use it because they automatically supply Direct Current.

ECPU

ECPU stands for Electric Power Control Unit. It controls the flow of the electric power to the vehicle. There are three components to the EPCU, the inverter, low voltage converter and a vehicle control unit.

Inverter

The inverter converts the current which is then used to control the electric motor speed. It changes it from DC- AC and operates the acceleration and deceleration of the vehicle.

Low Voltage Converter

The low voltage converter is responsible for changing high voltage to low voltage electricity to be able to supply the several electronic systems that an All-Electric vehicle has. The electronic systems only use low voltage.

Vehicle Control Unit

The Vehicle Control Unit manages the EPCU. It makes sure each component of the EPCU is running correctly. This includes overseeing the motor control, regenerative braking, A/C load management and the power supply for the electronic systems.

Maintenance of an All Electric Car

The maintenance of all electric vehicles is much less costly and more time-saving. Maintenance can cost you up to 50% less for electric cars as opposed to normal petrol or diesel cars, as due to the technology that’s used in EV’s they have less parts, thus reducing the wear and tear on the car.

Click here to book your MOT in with Perrys.

Perrys also offers tailored service plans to suit your needs and budget. Follow the link here to find out more information and the perfect service for your electric car.

Written by Lois | 8 min read
21 Jan 2022

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