How Does an Electric Car Work?

by Edwin Thomas

The Electric Car

An electric car is an alternative-design automobile that uses an electric motor to power the car, with the electricity being provided by a battery. While a conventional car does have a lead-acid battery as part of its standard equipment, this battery is for operating the starter and not powering the vehicle.

How Does an Electic Car Run?

Electric cars have a motor just like conventional, internal combustion engine cars. The difference is that the power supply is derived from battery-stored electricity rather than the mechanical power derived from burning gasoline. The batteries used in electric cars vary in design, and include the lead-acid type familiar to all conventional car owners (albeit, much larger than in a normal car), lithium ion (similar to those used in laptops and mobile phones, but once again much larger), molten salt, zinc-air, and various nickel-based designs.

The Problems with Batteries

The problems with electric cars all stem from the limits of existing battery design. Simply put, it requires a huge, expensive battery to even approach matching the power performance of an internal combustion engine. Only a few of even the highway-capable electric cars are capable of reaching even 70mph, and most designs were meant exclusively for use on city streets (40mph or less). Also, few battery designs can last for as long as even a small gasoline tank, and the recharging time is substantially longer than refilling a fuel tank.

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Wikimedia Commons