Groupe Renault
Electric mobility | 30 October 2020

How does an electric vehicle work?

2 min
You don’t need to a combustion engine to have plenty of power under the hood. Take a look at the inner workings of the electric vehicle.
by Renault Group

A battery as a power supply

Let’s talk about “fuel” first. With an electric car, charging via a plug socket or a terminal replaces the act of filling the tank of a combustion-powered car. The quantity of electricity stored in the battery defines its range, in other words the number of kilometers it can travel. The range of ZOE therefore extends up to 395 kilometers WLTP*.

From electricity to mechanical energy

Now that the power supply is clear, the next thing to understand is how electricity moves the car! It’s simple, and involves just two steps: the electric current provided by the battery when the driver applies the accelerator creates a magnetic field around the “stator” — a fixed component in the motor — which in turn then moves the “rotor” — the mobile part which rotates — which then turns the drive wheel. “Stator” for “static”, and “rotor” for “rotation”: it’s easy to remember and guaranteed to impress an audience! And, where accelerating consumes energy, decelerating recuperates it and recharges the battery. This is the principle behind regenerative braking.

What about changing gears?

In an electric vehicle, there is neither a gearshift nor a gearbox. A single transmission is all that’s needed to reach the maximum speed: it’s the smoothest acceleration possible! Take it from drivers, this enjoyable experience increases tenfold when combined with an instantly responsive motor, a lack of vibrations, a silent motor and an absence of exhaust fumes.

*WLTP range, Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (standard cycle: 57% urban driving, 25% suburban driving and 18% highway driving.)

** Data pending certification. 180 km of range on the standard WLTP cycle. The WLTP City cycle refers to the urban section of a standard cycle, here offering a range of 250 km.

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