BETWEEN COMBUSTION AND ELECTRIC VEHICLE
To really appreciate an electric car, it’s best to start
with a look at the internal combustion engine vehicle.
difference between the two is a study in contrasts.
Illustration : Combustion
The internal combustion engine
is a device that inherently tries to destroy itself:
numerous explosions drive its pistons up and down to turn a
shaft. A shaft rotating at 6,000 revolutions/minute produces
100 explosions every second. These explosions in turn
require a massive vessel to contain them—typically a
cast-iron cylinder block.
Additional systems are necessary:
cooling system to keep the temperatures within a
safe operating range.
An exhaust system to
remove the heated exhaust products safely.
ignition system to initiate the combustion at the
A fueling system to
introduce the proper mixture of air and gas for
lubricating system to reduce wear on
high-temperature, rapidly moving parts.
A starting system to
get the whole cycle going.
It’s complicated to keep all these systems working together.
This complexity means more things can go wrong (more
frequent repairs and higher repair costs).
Internal combustion engine vehicle systems.
Unfortunately, the internal combustion engine vehicle’s
legacy of destruction doesn’t just stop with itself. The
internal combustion engine is a variant of the generic
combustion process. To light a match, you use oxygen (O2)
from the air to burn a carbonbased fuel (wood or cardboard
matchstick), generate carbon dioxide (CO2), emit toxic waste
gases (you can see the smoke and perhaps smell the sulfur),
and leave a solid waste (burnt matchstick). The volume of
air around you is far greater than that consumed by the
match; air currents soon dissipate the smoke and smell, and
you toss the matchstick.
Today’s internal combustion engine is more evolved than
ever. However, we still have a carbon-based combustion
process that creates heat and pollution. Everything about
the internal combustion engine is toxic, and is still one of
the least-efficient mechanical devices on the planet. Unlike
lighting a single match, the use of hundreds of millions
(soon to be billions) of internal combustion engine vehicles
threatens to destroy all life on our earth.
While an internal combustion engine has hundreds of moving
parts, an electric motor only has
That’s one of the
main reasons why electric cars are so efficient!
Electrical Vehicle Systems
A simple diagram of an
electric vehicle looks like a simple diagram of a portable
electric shaver: a battery, a motor, and a controller or
switch that adjusts the flow of electricity to the motor to
control its speed.
EVs are simple (therefore
highlyreliable), have lifetimes measured in millions of
miles, need no periodic maintenance (filters, etc.), and
cost significantly less per mile to operate. They are highly
flexible as well, using electric energy readily available
anywhere as input fuel.