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Electric motor versus internal combustion engine

Electric vehicles have an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine (petrol or diesel) to drive the car.

EVs use a large traction battery pack to power this motor and BEVs or PHEVs are plugged into EV charging infrastructure to top up.

Want to know more?
The EVA can help.

EVs are low or zero-emissions (greenhouse gas) vehicles that do not contain liquid fuel components, such as a fuel pump, fuel line, or fuel tank.

Key components of an electric vehicle

Battery (all-electric auxiliary): Provides power to vehicle accessories.

Charge port: Insert for charging cable for connection to power supply or EV charging infrastructure.

DC/DC converter: Converts high-voltage DC power to low-voltage AC which required to recharge the auxiliary battery and run accessories.

Electric traction motor: Drives the wheels using power from the traction battery pack. 

Onboard charger: Converts AC power to DC for the purpose of charging the traction battery pack. Also provides monitoring of voltage, current and state of charge.

Power electronics controller: Manages the flow of energy from traction battery and controls speed and torque of the electric traction motor.

Thermal system (cooling): Monitors and maintains temperature range of the engine, power accessories and other components for optimal operation.

Traction battery pack: Energy storage for electric traction motor.

Transmission (electric): Provides the transfer of mechanical power to drive the wheels.

Current types of electric vehicles in Australia and New Zealand

Currently available to purchase in both countries are a range of four types of EVs:


Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles - PHEVs such as Mitsubishi Outlander

With both a battery engine and an internal combustion engine, PHEVs plug in to charge up but also use petrol (typically). They have a shorter distance range than BEVs.


Fuel cell electric vehicles - FCEVs such as Toyota Mirai

Using a fuel cell instead of a battery FCEVs are typically fuelled by hydrogen.


Non plug-in hybrid electric vehicles - HEVs such as Toyota Prius

Does not require plug-in charging, instead uses regenerative braking to recharge the onboard battery.

If you’re after any further information about electric vehicles or charging infrastructure, please get in touch and one of our EV Alliance members will be happy to help.

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