Electric cars are a technical revolution that is also noticeable in the structure of the vehicle: some important components that a conventional car with a combustion engine cannot do without are missing in purely electrically powered cars. But what exactly is the difference between electric cars and petrol and diesel? Here is a list of some components that will disappear with the triumph of electric mobility.
This should also be immediately apparent to laypeople: If the car runs on electricity, it does not need petrol and therefore no tank. It’s a good thing, because he’s always been a “problem bear”. It is not usually located in the back of the vehicle for fun and therefore far away from the engine – this is how engineers try to minimize the risk of fire in accident situations. Unfortunately, this concept also requires a complicated system of lines to be maintained. Anyone who has ever heard the phrase “Unfortunately, the fuel line is leaking” in the workshop will be happy: The tank and fuel lines are missing in electric cars. One worry less. Where nothing is burned …
… nothing has to be filtered. Or more precisely: “Exhaust aftertreatment in vehicles with internal combustion engines” is finally no longer an issue for electric cars. One of the functions of the catalytic converter is to convert the harmful carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide.
In contrast to combustion engines, an e-mobile drives emission-free – but it is not necessarily nature’s best friend. It doesn’t emit any pollutants locally, but this process may just take place elsewhere. A crucial question in the assessment of the ecological balance is how the electricity for the electric car is produced: Renewable energies (wind power, water power, etc.) are much more environmentally friendly than, for example, electricity generation by burning lignite or natural gas. The electric car cannot drive “cleaner” than its power source, which produces energy.
In addition to the engine, the exhaust ensures the right sound. What a vehicle sounds like can even be very important, for example because certain customers are willing to dig deep into their pockets for it. Maurizio Reggiani, Head of Technical Development at Lamborghini, told Autobild: “In a car like this, where the engine and design play such a big role, people have to tell immediately from the sound that it is a Lamborghini.”
In the future there will be no exhaust system and electric cars are generally quite quiet. So quietly that you have to help with road safety: electric cars are supposed to make artificial noises.
The toothed belt is driven by the crankshaft and controls the camshaft. It plays a central role in the valve control of four-stroke engines. If the toothed belt slips or tears, this can lead to severe damage to the motor, in the worst case to a total loss. That is why all manufacturers recommend changing this important component regularly.
The combustion engine of a conventional car does not start by itself; it requires an auxiliary unit known as a starter. This small electric motor starts up by triggering an initial intake and compression cycle. Before the starter was installed, it was manual work – the driver had to do the process himself with a hand crank.
A clutch is there to connect or disconnect the engine with the transmission when you want to shift gears. It is not needed when the engine and transmission form a fixed unit: Most electric cars have a fixed gear ratio, so to speak, they only have one gear.
The spark plug is an essential element in gasoline engines. Because the fuel-air mixture does not ignite by itself, an electrically triggered spark has to help – between 500 and 3,500 times per minute.
Closely linked to the history of the spark plug is the history of the German company Bosch, which received the patent for a high-voltage magneto in connection with a spark plug in 1902.
Note: The cover picture of this article shows the Tesla Cybertruck – an SUV that was first presented to the public in 2019. You can find more models from Tesla in our overview:
The many moving parts of an internal combustion engine only work well if the lubrication is correct. This is what the engine oil is for, the lubricant ensures trouble-free operation and counteracts wear and tear. An electric car does without engine oil, but it cannot do without fluids at all: Transmission oil, hydraulic oil and brake fluid will also be needed in the electrified mobility of the future.
In addition to the points mentioned here, there are of course many other components (e.g. air filter, tank) and features (e.g. range, noise emission) that can be used to distinguish between electric cars and combustion engines. Feel free to write us a comment on this topic.