What are the moving parts of an electric car?


The price gap between electric car models and fossil fuel cars is setting out to shrink, in line with Rachelle Petoskey, the manager of analysis and market intelligence for Cox Automotive quality.

Data reviewed by research house Cox Automotive shows electric car prices have significantly decreased from $64,300 to $55,600, a 13.4% decline over last year.

All new vehicles would be electric by the year 2023, due to cost-effectiveness rather than a green revolution, Tony Seba, a serial entrepreneur, and author told a Nomura investment forum.

With the initial cost of owning an electric car keeps going down year by year, what exactly is the reason behind this trend??

The technology used in making electric cars is now catching up with internal combustion engine, making it readily available and cheaper, this means that the cost of making parts of an electric car is becoming less and less sophisticated to build since it has a low number of moving parts, making it cheaper.

We know the difference in parts between an electric car and a fossil fuel car will be in their engine, the body is built the same, be it a hybrid, diesel or plug-in hybrid. They all have the same body built, but the difference comes in their engine. The engine of a gas car has numerous moving parts, which are required to set the vehicle in motion.

This brings us to, what are the moving parts of an electrical part? And why are they becoming less expensive to make all of a sudden?

What are the moving parts of the electric car? The moving parts of an electric car are the electric motor, transmission, rotor, and drivetrain. All these parts work hand in hand to give the driver a seamless operation of the vehicle.

But are these the only moving parts that have made the electric cars far cheaper to mass produce these days? Let’s find out below.

The Moving Parts of an Electric Car Compared to Conventional Cars

Electric cars are easier to maintain than their gas hog counterpart. this is because they have fewer moving parts than an internal combustion engine.  Therefore, they do not require oil changes because the low number of moving parts do not rub against each other readily.

The switch from an internal combustion engine to electric cars will have a toll on auto mechanics, resulting in most of them becoming obsolete.  To remain valuable as an auto mechanic, they will need to be trained to work on electrical car parts.

Even though there are fewer internal parts, auto mechanics for electric cars will need to be highly specialized since the tech changes quite quickly.  The main parts are remaining the same, but they are advancing exponentially in the way that they function.

Electric cars are said to have 90% less moving parts than an internal combustion engine. Fossil-fueled cars have about 2000 moving parts according to Tony Seba who is a lecturer at Stanford University and an entrepreneur at Silicon Valley.

What are the major moving parts of an electric car

When you look at the question logically, “the number of moving parts of an electric car or any automobile”, you will see that the answer is rather subjective than definite, because it is based on the make and model of a car, and every car is different.

When you start counting the number of moving parts of an electric car or a conventional car, you will end up with so many moving parts on your hand like the radio knobs, AC controller, door handle, windscreen wiper, etc.

The answer to this depends on how detailed enough you want it, some vague sources on the internet have reported that an unknown model of Chrysler has about 14000 moving parts, this number represents the entire moving part in the car, from the engine to the passenger compartment.

Another report by MarketWatch on their blog reported that the tesla Model S has about 17 moving parts in their drive train as compared to internal combustion engine which has about 200 parts, although it is discussed to state the number of moving parts in an electrical part, we will talk about the major ones below.

List of the major moving parts in an electrical part

Any machine that moves definitely has moving parts, electric cars are not left out in this category, the major moving parts of an electric car are the parts that aid the movement of the vehicle from one point to another, let us find out what some of these parts are.

Is the electric motor a moving part?

You can not discuss the moving parts of an electric car without talking about the electric motor. The electric motor is the main engine of an electric car. A typical electric motor like the one found on the Tesla Model S weighs 70lbs, lighter than a 330lbs internal combustion engine found in most fossil powered cars.

Electric motors are either Direct current (DC) or Alternating current powered, the two predominant electric motors used in the industry today that are used in electric cars are brushless DC motor (BLDC)  and induction motor, invented by zenobe Gramme (1873) and Nikola Tesla (1888).

But be it the Gramme or Tesla, the BLDC or induction motor still works on the same similar principles of an electric motor, which is based on the interaction between a current-carrying conductor in a magnetic field, the rotation is guided by Flemming right-hand rule which is used to drive the rotation of the shaft.

Both of these motors function in a similar manner.  They are AC driven because electromagnetic induction in the stator is needed to produce an electric current in the rotor, therefore generating high initial torque.

While a brushless DC motors, works like a brush DC motor but without the brush this time, the brush is eliminated by putting the permanent magnets on the rotor and electromagnets on the stator.  Then a computer is used to charge the electromagnets at certain times, causing the rotation of the rotor which is connected to the rotating shaft of an electrical part.

The electric motor in an electric car is considered a major moving part because it moves the driving wheel, inside the electric motor you can also find some other moving parts such as the rotor, bearing and winding.

Does the transmission of an electric car has moving parts?

A transmission is simply a system of gears that are used to provide, control and manipulate the output power, speed and torque of a machine.

If you have been following my post, you will remember I said electric cars do not have a transmission because they do not use gears, that is still correct, in fact, an electric car does not really have a transmission as you have in an internal combustion engine.

Electric cars come with a single-speed transmission, instead of a multi-speed transmission or multi-gear, you only have one. This is because they do not need extra gears.  They can create high initial torque along with a wide range of RPM on just one gear.

One of the senior engineers at Oerlikon, Amos Gobetti designed a new single-speed transmission for electric cars that is compact, efficient and cost-effective for modern electric cars.

This single-speed transmission has a gear ratio of 10:1.  This single-speed transmission can last for a total of 8000 hours.  This is far beyond the longevity of most internal combustion engine cars.

Single-speed transmission is great since there is no need for clutch and shifting gears that are required for an internal combustion engine.

The single-speed transmission also comes with a few moving parts, like the one developed by Oerlikon has one gear system, a driving shaft, park lock sprocket wheel, and bearings.

Does the Drivetrain of an electric car have moving parts?

Once you have the electrical motor and the single-speed transmission system, the only thing left now is your drivetrain.  Your drivetrain helps deliver power from the transmission to the wheels.

The drivetrain does the final job of moving the vehicle. There are four different forms of drivetrain;

  1. all-wheel drive (AWD)
  2. front-wheel-drive (FWD)
  3. rear-wheel drive (RWD)
  4. 4WD (4-wheel drive)

The moving parts of an electric car drivetrain are the driveshaft, CV joints, the differential, the axle shafts, and the U-joints.

Conclusion

These are the major moving parts of an electric car that house other moving parts. These parts are becoming easier to manufacture and fabricate; therefore,  making them cheaply available to electric car automakers.

The only major part of an electric car I did not mention is the battery, even though new technology is making lithium-ion batteries more readily affordable and sophisticated.  Though the battery is not a moving part of an electric car unless you are looking at it from an atomic physics standpoint.

One can argue that the movement of charges in the battery, is what powers the electric motor inside an electric car, but that debate is for another day.

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