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With all of our oil problems, the idea of the electric vehicle has risen from the ashes. Here is a guide to electric vehicles and how they work.

Electric Vehicles and How They Work

Most of the people in the world will either drive or ride in a vehicle in their lifetime. Most of these vehicles will be powered by an internal combustion engine, which will run on either gasoline or diesel fuel. While these vehicles have been the standard for nearly a hundred years now, new engine types have started to make an impact on the vehicle scene, which include electric and hybrid engines. Electric engines are the cleanest engines available to consumers today, so it's important to learn about electric vehicles and how they work.

Electric vehicles usually look just like "normal" vehicles on the outside, except for the lack of a tailpipe (and exhaust system). Internally, however, and under the vehicle, a big difference can be seen. There is no gas tank (as electric vehicles do not burn fuel) and battery packs are often found either under the vehicle or in the trunk. These batteries are the same type that are used to start a gasoline powered vehicle, only there are many more of them used in conjunction to store energy to power the vehicle. There is also a regulator attached to the batteries to make sure that the amount of energy produced and used by the vehicle is constant, and that none of the batteries burn out.

Another interesting thing to note about electric vehicles and how they work is the fact that almost everything besides the engine in an electric vehicle is the same as that in a gas powered vehicle. The transmission, brakes, climate control systems and air bags all function in the same way. The electric motor itself is the true difference. There are three types of electric motors that are available on the market today: the AC Brushless (good top speed, but low acceleration), the AC Induction (ok top speed, best acceleration, but highest price) and the Permanent Magnet (middle of the road in performance). Any of these motors can be used to create an electric vehicle.

While an electric vehicle moves, the momentum generated while braking can be used to charge the batteries for power. Called regenerative braking, this specialized braking system can help you recover up to 15% of the energy used for acceleration by applying the momentum generated in the braking process to the batteries. While this does not provide enough recharge to fully run your electric vehicle, it can help to extend the amount of driving you can do.

There are other aspects of electric vehicles and how they work that can be discussed, such as battery types and other additions to make your vehicle more energy efficient. Electric vehicles may not be the speediest or easiest to maintain vehicles available today, but with new technology being developed all the time, electric vehicles will eventually become a great alternative to polluting combustion engine vehicles.

About the Author

Rick Chapo is with - information on renewable energy.