The components, spare parts and operation of electric cars depend on the type and model of car. There are several types of electric cars currently on the market. Today we are going to talk about the main components or parts or common elements of electric cars and their function, such as traction batteries, inverters, traction motors, chargers and on-board controllers.
The different types of components in electric cars determine how the car works.
The components and functions of electric cars can be explained by the following picture:
How does an electric car work?
In a battery electric vehicle (BEV), when the car accelerator is depressed:
- The controller (C) takes and regulates the electrical energy from the batteries (A) and the inverters (B).
- With the controller set, the inverter then sends a certain amount of electrical power to the motor (depending on the pressure on the pedal).
- The electric motor (D) converts electrical energy into mechanical energy (rotation).
- The rotation of the motor rotor turns the transmission so that the wheels turn and the car moves.
Components of an electric vehicle.
There are basic components and spare parts for any type of electric vehicle, battery, electric car charging cable, motor… But there are also unique elements. We will focus on the basics installed in almost all types of electric cars:
Traction battery (A)
The function of the battery of an electric car is that of a system for storing electrical energy in the form of direct current (DC).
If it receives a signal from the controller, the battery will send DC electrical energy to the inverter to be used to drive the motor. The type of battery used is a rechargeable battery which is arranged to form a so-called traction battery pack.
There are several types of batteries for electric cars. The most widely used type is lithium-ion batteries.
The inverter works to change direct current (DC) from the battery to alternating current (AC), and then this alternating current is used by an electric motor.
In addition, the inverter of an electric car also has the function of changing alternating current when regenerative braking occurs to direct current, and then used to recharge the battery. The type of inverter used in some models of electric cars is the category of two-way inverters.
The main function of the controller is to regulate the electric energy coming from the batteries and the inverters which will be distributed to the electric motors.
While the controller itself receives the main input from the car’s pedal, which is adjusted by the driver. This pedal adjustment will determine the variation in frequency or voltage that will enter the motor, and at the same time it will determine the speed of the car.
In short, this unit manages the flow of electrical energy supplied by the traction battery, controlling the speed of the electric traction motor and the torque it produces. This component will determine the operation of the electric car.
Electric traction motor (D)
Since the controller supplies electric power from the traction battery, the electric traction motors will work to turn the transmission and the wheels.
Some hybrid electric cars use a type of motor-generator that performs propulsion and regenerative functions. In general, the type of electric motor used is the BLDC motor (Brushless DC).
Other components of an electric car.
The charger (E) is a battery charger. Chargers draw their electricity from external sources, such as the power grid or solar power plants. The alternating current is converted into direct current and then stored in the battery.
There are two types of chargers for electric cars:
- on-board charger: the charger is located and installed in the car
- External charger: The charger is not found or is not installed in the car.
- Gearbox (F): The transmission transfers mechanical power from the electric traction motor to drive the wheels.
- DC/DC converter (G): It is one of the parts of the electric car that converts the high voltage direct current of the traction battery pack into the low voltage direct current necessary for the operation of the vehicle accessories and the recharging of the auxiliary battery.
- Battery (H): In an electrically powered vehicle, the auxiliary battery provides electricity to operate vehicle accessories.
- Thermal System – Cooling (I): This system maintains an appropriate operating temperature range for the engine, electric motor, power electronics and other components.
- charging port (J): The charging port allows the vehicle to be connected to an external power source to charge the traction battery.