How Engines work

A great TED-Ed video on ICE vs EVs.

A super simple summary:

Non-electric cars run on internal combustion engines, we call them ICE vehicles.

ICE vehicles

  • have cylinders with piston that convert linear motion into rotational motion
    • combustion occurs when air and fuel are sprayed into the cylinder and ignited/compressed
      • in gasoline, there is a spark plug that ignites the gas
      • in diesel, the compression alone creates a mini explosion
  • gas pedal controls the amount of air and fuel released into the chamber, more fuel = more power = faster rotation
  • thousands of blast happen per minute
  • inefficient: only 16-25% of energy goes towards moving the wheels
    • produces 15% of total global carbon emissions
  • has >2000 moving parts to help contain, cool, and maintain combustion

Electric vehicles

  • induction motors
    • stator: series of rings with copper wires wrapped around it (conduction creates rotating magnetic field)
    • rotor: a rotating magnetic core that spins with the magnetic field
  • accelerator changes frequency of current driven into wires of stator, changing the speed of the rotor
  • 65-69% of energy goes directly to moving the wheels
  • has 20 parts
  • can integrate energy-saving devices
    • regenerative braking: when you brake, the motor runs backwards and captures kinetic energy to recharge battery
    • rooftop solar panels to increase range
  • not always carbon neutral, emission profile depends on the source of electricity