Overview of Electric Vehicle Components 200
This class explores the functional components of electric vehicles and what makes them different from hybrid vehicles and vehicles with combustion engines. Electric vehicles are powered by a system of electric components that control power throughout the vehicle. These components include rechargeable batteries, electric drivetrains, control systems, sensors, software, and basic mechanical components. The combination of these technologies creates an advanced and efficient vehicle system. An understanding of electric vehicles and their components is important for familiarity with these emerging technologies and growing industries. After taking this course, users will understand the basic components and systems that operate and control electric vehicles.
Number of Lessons 11
- Electric Vehicles
- EV Batteries
- EV Drivetrains
- EV Motors
- Electrical Control Components
- EV Review
- Thermal Management Systems
- Body and Mechanics
- Sensor Systems
- EV Connectivity
- Final Review
- Describe electric vehicles.
- Describe EV batteries.
- Describe the drivetrain of an electric vehicle.
- Describe the electric motor of an electric vehicle.
- Describe common electrical control components in electric vehicles.
- Describe EV thermal management systems.
- Describe EV bodies and basic mechanical components.
- Describe sensor systems used in electric vehicles.
- Describe connectivity for electric vehicles.
Alternating current. Electric current that reverses the direction of flow at regularly recurring intervals of time. Alternating current is converted to DC to charge EV batteries.
adaptive cruise control
ACC. A control system that maintains driving speed and positioning. Adaptive cruise control uses sensors to adjust driving speed and position based on environmental factors.
AC. Electric current that reverses the direction of flow at regularly recurring intervals of time. Alternating current is converted to DC to charge EV batteries.
A highly conductive, lightweight, silvery metal. Aluminum is sometimes used in electric vehicle bodies.
antilock brake systems
ABSs. A safety system that assists with steering and tire traction in driving emergencies. Antilock brake systems prevent wheels from locking up.
A software program that is designed for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Applications allow users to interact with smart devices.
AI. A computer program with algorithms that enable a machine or computer to imitate intelligent human behavior. Artificial intelligence allows machines to perform a process with autonomy.
A supplementary battery used to power accessories or back up main power supplies. Auxiliary batteries in electric vehicles sometimes initially start the vehicle.
The center post of a wheel. The axle is positioned on the wheel's axis.
A device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy. Batteries consist of multiple individual cells and are used to power electric vehicles.
battery electric vehicles
BEVs. A type of electric vehicle that uses battery energy alone to power its electric motor. Battery electric vehicles typically use lithium-ion batteries.
battery management system
BMS. A computer that monitors, regulates, and coordinates the operations of a battery pack. The battery management system in an EV may be either centralized or distributed.
A group of battery cells connected together to produce large amounts of electrical energy. Battery packs may also include components such as sensors and battery management systems.
battery thermal management system
BTMS. A component that regulates the temperature of an EV battery pack. The battery thermal management system maintains optimal temperatures and is controlled by the battery management system.
A friction-reducing device that allows one moving part to glide past or rotate within another moving part. Bearings operate using a sliding or rolling mechanism.
blind spot warning
A system of cameras and sensors that alerts a driver about objects that are not in their direct lines of vision. Blind spot warning systems are important safety features of electric vehicles.
Battery management system. A computer that monitors, regulates, and coordinates the operations of a battery pack. The BMS in an EV may be either centralized or distributed.
A device used to capture still images, such as photographs, or moving images, such as videos. Cameras are used for front collision warning.
A single unit of a battery. A cell contains a cathode, an anode, and an electrolyte solution.
A component on an electric vehicle used for connecting electric vehicle supply equipment to charge the vehicle battery. Charging ports vary based on the type of battery and the vehicle manufacturer.
The frame of a machine. The chassis of a car is made of metal and supports the body.
A material composed of two or more unlike materials that are bonded together without losing their individual properties or characteristics. Composites consist of a matrix material and a reinforcement material.
A component connecting the chassis to wheel assemblies. Control arms provide stability and alignment for the suspension and wheels during motion.
An internal component of a rotor that contains the magnets. Cores provide a controlled path for current.
The amount of electricity flowing in a circuit. Current is measured in amperes.
A device or high-voltage circuit that connects a power source to the motor controller or other components. The DC bus connects EV electrical components to the power electronic converter.
A device that controls voltage levels for DC power exchange. DC-to-DC converters make sure that electric vehicle components are receiving the appropriate amount of power.
A component that transmits power from the motor to the wheel axles and allows the wheels to move at different speeds. Differentials in electric vehicles are integrated into the transaxle.
DC. Electric current that flows in a one continuous direction. Batteries generate direct current power.
A component that transmits power and motion from the motor to the wheels. Drive axles are critical for propelling all types of vehicles.
A group of components that work to move a vehicle's wheel system. The drivetrain of an electric vehicle, often called the electric drive unit, is simplified and electrically driven
electric drive unit
EDU. An electric vehicle component that combines transmission and motor functions in an all-electric design. Electric drive units are simpler and have fewer components than traditional transmissions.
A machine that converts electricity into mechanical energy or motion. Electric motors and rechargeable batteries propel electric vehicles.
electric power steering
EPS. Steering assistance provided by an electric motor on the steering rack or column. Electric power steering uses sensors to measure wheel movement and provide necessary torque for driver assistance.
EVs. A vehicle that uses full or partial electric motor power to propel itself forward. Electric vehicles produce less emissions than internal combustion engine vehicles and have better fuel economy.
An area of force that contains magnetic and electrical energy. Electromagnetic fields can be generated by running electricity through a wire wrapped around a ferrite core.
Any chemical released into the air during the use or production of a substance. Emissions are created by internal combustion engines and hybrid electric vehicles.
The ratio of a battery's energy-delivery capability to its weight or volume. Energy density is measured in watt-hours per pound or watt-hours per cubic inch.
Electric vehicles. A vehicle that uses full or partial electric motor power to propel itself forward. EVs produce less emissions than internal combustion engine vehicles and have better fuel economy.
fleet management software
A software platform designed to track and manage the activities and logistics of commercial fleet vehicles. Fleet management software for electric vehicles can track and manage fleet data in greater detail due to the inherent connectivity of EV software systems.
front collision warning
A safety system that alerts drivers of hazards in their driving path. Front collision warning systems alert drivers of hazards and automatically engage the brakes when necessary.
fuel cell electric vehicles
FCEVs. A type of electric vehicle that uses an electric motor powered by hydrogen fuel cells to power and operate the vehicle. Fuel cell electric vehicles are quickly refueled but require more energy and cost investment.
fully hybrid electric vehicles
FHEVs. A type of electric vehicle that uses an electric motor, a combustion engine, and internal battery charging to power and operate the vehicle. Fully hybrid electric vehicles do not include charging ports like plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
A circular, toothed component that engages, rotates, and transmits power to another circular, toothed component when rotated. A gear is usually used as part of a larger energy transfer system, such as a vehicle transmission.
The number of times a gear turns in relation to another gear. The gear ratio in an electric vehicle does not use multiple gears since it is electrically controlled to provide necessary torque.
A device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy by magnetic induction. Electric vehicle motors act as generators during regenerative braking.
A device commonly used to transport heat using refrigeration and air. Heat pumps in EVs are often bidirectional and can intake or dissipate heat throughout the vehicle and components.
heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
HVAC. Systems that control climates in spaces such as vehicles and buildings. Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems maintain comfortable cabin temperatures in electric vehicles.
A type of cable that transmits electric currents with high voltages. High-voltage cables are colored orange for safety identification.
Internal combustion engine. A type of engine in which heat energy and mechanical energy are produced inside the engine. ICEs include gas turbines and types of diesel motors.
internal combustion engine
ICE. A type of engine in which heat energy and mechanical energy are produced inside the engine. Internal combustion engines include gas turbines and types of diesel motors.
Internet of Things
IoT. A network of physical devices used in manufacturing that contain computing systems that allow them to send and receive data. The Internet of Things allows devices to exchange data and processes to be automated without any human intervention.
inverter system controller
ISC. A device mounted on the motor housing that converts DC to AC for motor operation. Inverter system controllers transfer battery energy to power the motor in an electric vehicle.
Inverter system controller. A device mounted on the motor housing that converts DC to AC for motor operation. ISCs transfer battery energy to power the motor in an electric vehicle
kWh. A unit used to measure electrical energy usage or delivery over time. One kilowatt-hour indicates that a battery can supply 1,000 watts of electricity for one hour.
Energy existing due to an object's motion. Kinetic energy is recovered by an electric vehicle motor during regenerative braking.
A system of cameras and sensors that alerts a driver about their position in road lanes and related hazards. Lane assist systems may autonomously correct vehicle position if it is unsafely leaving a lane.
A type of rechargeable battery that uses lead dioxide as a cathode and lead as an anode. Lead-acid batteries are very cheap to produce and therefore widely used despite their lower specific energy and energy density.
liquid refrigerant coolant system
A type of temperature control system that circulates uses a liquid medium through components to absorb heat in one location to release it elsewhere. Liquid refrigerant coolant systems are often used in automotive applications.
Li-ion. A type of rechargeable battery that uses a lithium compound as a cathode and usually graphite or carbon as an anode. Lithium-ion batteries are widely used in portable electronics and electric vehicles.
A device used for position and speed sensing. Magnetic sensors are important for automatic antilock brake systems in electric vehicles.
A metallic object or substance that possesses a force that attracts or repels other metals. Magnets attract opposite charges and repel like charges.
Motor control unit. A component that controls motor power delivery and behavior. The motor control unit works with the battery and other electric controls to maintain motor performance.
A combination of kinetic and potential energy resulting from the force of gravity or the movement or release of a machine component. Mechanical energy in an electric vehicle comes from the electrical energy of the battery and motor.
A unit that contains several battery cells connected in either series or parallel. Modules in EV battery packs also contain fuses, sensors, and cooling mechanisms.
motor control unit
MCU. A component that controls motor power delivery and behavior. The motor control unit works with the battery and other electric controls to maintain motor performance.
The component that protects the motor and related components from damage. Motor housings contain motors, resolvers, and inverters.
NiMH. A type of rechargeable battery that uses nickel hydroxide as a cathode and a hydrogen alloy as an anode. Nickel-metal hydride batteries are cheaper than lithium-ion batteries and are used in some hybrid electric vehicles.
A device composed of a pin and ring that restricts vehicle motion when engaged. Parking pawls are located in the motor housing.
Power electronic converter. An electrical device that coordinates power distribution and functions as a DC-to-DC converter. PECs adjust power levels to appropriately supply various components.
permanent-magnet synchronous motor
PMSM. An AC motor that uses permanent magnets imbedded in or attached to the rotor and an external supply of AC power to the stator to generate a rotating magnetic field. Permanent-magnet synchronous motors are most commonly used in electric vehicles.
phase change material
PCM. A substance that can absorb or release thermal energy. Phase change material is often used as a coolant by absorbing excess heat.
A piece of metal that moves up and down in response to combustion systems. Pistons may be used to transfer motion.
plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
PHEVs. A type of electric vehicle that uses an electric motor, a combustion engine, and an onboard charging device to power and operate the vehicle. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are equipped with charging ports and must be plugged in using electric vehicle supply equipment.
power electric converter
PEC. An electrical device that coordinates power distribution and functions as a DC-to-DC converter. Power electronic converters adjust power levels to appropriately supply various components.
A maintenance approach that involves collecting data in order to anticipate and correct potential issues before they arise. A predictive maintenance approach involves performing maintenance before failures occur to prevent unscheduled downtime and reduce the labor, cost, and time needed for repairs.
primary drive unit
PDU. The transaxle system that powers the main drive and wheel components. Primary drive units are usually located in the front of an electric vehicle.
product lifecycle management
PLM. A system that maintains data on every aspect of a product from its inception to its retirement. Product lifecycle management follows a product through its design, production, sale, service, and retirement.
A device that uses pulses of high-frequency electromagnetic waves to detect motion and the presence of other objects. Radar sensors are used for front collision warning.
A device that helps dissipate heat in vehicles. Radiators help transport excess heat to cooler areas or outside the vehicle.
A capability of electric vehicles that collects and stores energy used in braking to supplement power to the electric motor. Regenerative braking is available in both fully electric and hybrid electric vehicle types.
A sensor that measures rotation to provide position and velocity feedback. Resolvers are located in the motor housing.
A rotating part of an electrical or mechanical device. The rotor in a motor is rotated by the magnetic field of the stator.
secondary drive unit
SDU. The transaxle system that powers secondary drive and wheel components. Secondary drive units are usually located in the rear of an electric vehicle.
Technology that enables the autonomous operation of vehicles. Self-driving technology is part of electric vehicle advancement.
A material that restricts electrons but still allows them to flow. Semiconductors are used in the power electronic converter that manages power distribution levels throughout an EV.
A device that detects a change in stimulus and turns it into a signal that can be measured or recorded. Sensors allow vehicles and other devices to interact with their environment and monitor operations.
A cylindrical bar used to support rotating components in a mechanical system. Shafts also transmit mechanical energy and motion.
A circuit where current takes a shorter, unintended path between two conductors. Short circuits can be caused by abnormal battery temperatures.
The combination of programs, instructions, and formulas that structure the actions of a computer and related electronic devices. Software helps electric vehicles exchange data internally and with other devices.
The stationary part of a motor. The stator contains windings and generates the magnetic field.
An alloy of iron and carbon containing less than 2% carbon. Steel comes in varying levels of hardness and is the most common manufacturing metal.
A device that limits impacts and vibration from road conditions. Struts take in the energy from road conditions and slowly release it to reduce movement of the vehicle.
The system of tires, tire air, springs, shock absorbers, and linkages that connects wheels, allows motion, and provides stability. Suspension systems for electric vehicles are similar to traditional vehicles.
thermal management control units
TMCUs. A device that monitors various sensors and regulates the operation of cooling, heating, and insulation systems. The thermal management control unit ensures optimal temperatures throughout the vehicle and its components.
thermal management systems
TMSs. A network of components that manages temperature levels within an electric vehicle and its components. Thermal management systems include components that control battery temperature, cabin temperature, and the temperature of other electric components.
The process of a defective or damaged battery cell overheating and damaging nearby cells, causing them to also overheat. Thermal runaway can cause fires or explosions if not detected and stopped.
A device that senses temperature changes in and around other devices. Thermistors are used to help maintain safe operating temperatures in electric vehicles.
Alternating current power that consists of three overlapping voltages from three coils. Three-phase power is used for all large AC motors in electric vehicles.
Thermal management systems. A network of components that manages temperature levels within an electric vehicle and its components. TMSs include components that control battery temperature, cabin temperature, and the temperature of other electric components.
A force causing rotation. Torque is generated by battery power and the electric motor in an electric vehicle.
A type of sensor that detects linear and rotational forces applied by a motor. Torque sensors assist with power transmission in electric vehicles.
A rechargeable battery that supplies power to all electric vehicle components, including motors. Traction batteries are large lithium batteries mounted to the bottom of the vehicle.
A machine that uses a combination of gears and other mechanical components to change the speed or torque of mechanical energy. Transmissions in electric vehicles use single gears and electrical power instead of complex gear systems.
Vehicle control unit. An electronic component that controls power and communication between electric vehicle components. VCUs also optimize performance by monitoring and communicating with sensors and other control devices.
vehicle control unit
VCU. An electronic component that controls power and communication between electric vehicle components. Vehicle control units also optimize performance by monitoring and communicating with sensors and other control devices.
A measure of electrical pressure or potential known as electromotive force. Voltage is measured in volts.
A collection of wires organized and bundled according to function. A wire harness, also known as a wire harness assembly, facilitates easy installation and saves space.
A slender rope of drawn metal used to transmit electrical current or signals. Wires usually consist of the metal conductor itself and a covering of insulation.