If you are interested to purchase an electric car for your next ride, you should at least know the key components of the vehicle.
Are you aware about how electric vehicles operate?
What are the key components of an electric car that you know about?
The sketch below is a simplified presentation of the key components of an electric vehicle (EV). The components are shown in relation to each other.
You’ll find all the functions explained below the diagram.
Key components of an electric car
Below are explanations of some of the components you will find in an EV.
In an electric drive vehicle, the auxiliary battery provides electricity to run the vehicle accessories.
These auxiliaries include all the lights, horn, alarms, as well as the air conditioning systems. This is essentially a low-voltage system of the EV.
You can connect an external power supply to the charge port. This will charge the traction battery which is the key component of the EV.
If you are at home, you can use the home charger. If you are traveling, then you should be able to charge up at a public charging station.
This device converts higher-voltage DC power from the traction battery pack to the lower-voltage DC power needed to run vehicle accessories and recharge the auxiliary battery.
Electric traction motor
This motor drives the vehicle’s wheels using the stored energy in the traction battery. Many electric vehicles use motors which drive the wheels and when on regenerative braking, they work as generators to charge up the battery.
Traction motors could be AC induction type or of AC synchronous type or of DC motor. Tesla Models use a three-phase AC induction motor to drive the wheels.
Tesla makes use of an Inverter to supply the required AC power supply to the Induction motor which is used to drive the wheels. This inverter essentially changes the DC of the battery into the AC that is required by the motor.
By using sophisticated arrays of electronic power transistors, the Inverter is able to supply AC which has variable frequency as well as amplitude of the AC waveform.
This controls the power, speed and torque of the induction motor and hence the car’s superior performance is gained accordingly.
The onboard charger takes the incoming AC electricity supplied via the charge port and converts it to DC power for charging the traction battery.
It monitors battery characteristics such as voltage, current, temperature, and state of charge while charging the pack.
Power electronics controller/ computer
This unit using sophisticated software manages the effective flow of electrical energy delivered by the traction battery.
It controls the Inverter’s operation and so controls the speed of the electric traction motor, and the torque it produces.
It is the brain of the entire EV.
Cooling system for battery
The battery can become very hot during periods of rapid power delivery. This system maintains a proper operating temperature range of the battery, power electronics, and other components.
In extreme cold weathers, this system may have a heating function to enable the battery to be warmed up to the correct temperature. The cooling system is also critical for the long life of the battery pack.
Traction battery pack
Tesla uses an innovative design which consists primarily of thousands of Lithium ion cells. The cells are arranged in parallel and series configuration so that the battery output has high voltage.
Tesla uses 400 V DC. This battery essentially determines the range of your EV. It essentially stores electricity for use by the electric traction motor.
The output of the traction motor is transmitted via the gearbox to the wheels of the car. In an electric vehicle which uses an induction motor which has a wide operating spectrum, the power is transmitted through a single speed reduction gear to the wheels.
This speed reduction greatly increases the torque available at the wheels to accelerate the car.
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