This 10 Minute will Tell you Everything About How Electric Cars Work

Most people know electric cars are the Next Big Thing in cars but very few of them can tell you how electric vehicles, or EVs, actually work. The basic understanding is that it is a car and instead of fueling up at a gas station, you charge an EV battery by plugging it in somewhere.


Beyond that information breaks down. There’s some idea that the battery powers an engine, but that’s a common misconception. Instead, an EV has a motor, an induction motor, specifically, that uses magnets and. . . well, the video explains it all.

The 10-minute video is part of Learn Engineering, a video series funded through Patreon and is very educational, though the narration is little stilted and fast in some places (it is short enough to watch twice if you missed something). The video uses very clear animation to explain the workings of a Tesla motor, though any induction motor works about the same, then compares its function to the more familiar internal combustion engine to help viewers understand the efficiencies between the too.


For example, watching the video you get a clear understanding of the power versus size trade-off with an induction motor. The 70 pound motor of a Tesla Model S can produce 270 kilowatts or 326 horsepower but to get a little over half the same amount of power, an internal combustion engine would weigh about 400 pounds.

Additionally, the video covers the function and build of the battery pack and braking system but the particulars of these two systems are more specialized to Tesla. Most other EVs use large square batteries but a Tesla battery is composed of thousands of regular looking, “AA” sized lithium-ion batteries in a large pack stored on the floor beneath the passenger seats.


At the same time, it explains how the battery is cooled through channels of liquid coolant and the importance of this process in maintaining capacity. The video is really worth a look for consumers and anyone interested in the way induction motors work and how electric vehicles operate.

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