Electric Car Motors Overview

I am working on a three-wheeled electric car/diesel gas hybrid and I have been researching all kinds of stuff online to help me sort out how to power the vehicle. I wanted to learn about the different types of electric motors available and how effecient they are. Through everything I have been reading, quite a few motor types seem to keep on coming up, so I am going to list them here in order of Greatest to Least Greatest and some of the details.


The Very Best Electric Car Motor
:
3-Phase AC induction motors

Here are some example motors:
http://www.metricmind.com/motor.htm

Let me put it this way – The Tesla uses this type of motor.  AC induction motors are the best because they use the battery the most effeciently (giving you more range), they do not wear out the original transmission of the vehicle they are mounted to and the transfer of power is easier to manage than a DC motor, and they can be used with bigger cars and heavier loads than a DC motor.  Because of this, this is the ONLY engine I would recommend that anyone considers when they are building an electric car.  They cost more than the other two, but they are highly worth it in the long-run for performance.

This motor is configured differently than the DC motors used to power an electric car.  Instead of a controller unit for the DC engine, this replaces the controller with a DC-AC inverter installed in the car.  So you have to purchase more electrical parts required to turn your gas car into an AC electric powered car than with a DC motor.

Tesla Roadster Motor Specs:
375 volts of AC power
weighs 115 pounds
Produces 14,000 RPM
Connected to a gearbox with only 1 gear – ratio of 8.2752:1

 


Second Best Electric Car Motor:
DC Series wound electric car motors

Example Motor Here: http://www.evparts.com/products/street-vehicle/motors–dot/96-to-192-volt-street-vehicle-motors/mt2117.htm
This is the same type of motor that is in your electric drill out in the garage. These motors are popular because they have high torque and are helpful to electric car applications to apply that torque when accelerating from a complete stop.  The Advanced DC Series wound motor is by far the most popular of the electric car motors being used, but I think that is because of the price point.  This is the same motor that I have been recommended to use by plans I have seen for various types of electric car conversions.  If you have been thinking about converting your car from a gas engine to an electric powered vehicle – you will find all kinds of kits with this type of motor.

The problem with these motors or any Series motors is that they cannot be used at constant speeds where loads vary.  They also have to always be run under load.  They are not the best choice for use in a car unless you are driving in a very flat terrain all of the time – like Illinois for example – so if you live in a mountainous state – this will not work for your daily drive.

Worst choice for an electric car motor:
Permanent Magnet DC electric motor
This is the DC motor that most people are familiar with – the loud motor with brushes.  Permanent Magnet DC motors are mostly used in vehicles smaller than a car – such as motorcycles, bikes, go-karts, and scooters.

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