What is an Electric Motor?  

Electric Motors

Electric motors take electrical energy and convert it to mechanical energy by way of magnetic fields. This is in comparison to a traditional car engine which takes chemical energy (gasoline or diesel) and converts it to mechanical energy by way of combustion. There are two major categories of electric motors: alternating current (AC) motors, and direct current (DC) motors. Most electric cars use AC motors to in place of internal combustion engines (ICE).

Current Use

We use hundreds of electric motors every day from microwaves to laundry machines, to washroom exhaust fans. In cars, electric motors have been commonplace for decades: windshield wipers, fuel pumps, engine starters, power windows, power seats, sunroof motors, door locks, power mirrors, and many others. There can be well over 100 electric motors in a fully equipped car.

BMW i3 with exposed electric motor and battery.

With their ubiquity they are well understood in the automotive industry and beyond. They are reliable, long lasting, clean, low maintenance, and surprisingly efficient. The real breakthrough facilitating the rise of electric cars was in battery storage for cell phones, not in advancements of electric motors.

The Basics

With their ubiquity they are well understood in the automotive industry and beyond. They are reliable, long lasting, clean, low maintenance, and surprisingly efficient. The real breakthrough facilitating the rise of electric cars was in battery storage for cell phones, not in advancements of electric motors.

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