Which motors are used in electric cars?

I get how combustion works in a gas-powered car, but what exactly is giving my electric car its giddy-up? Which motors are used in electric cars?

Alex Reale · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Great question—and it has a bit of a complicated answer. Simply put, electric motors can be divided into AC and DC, with the more powerful AC being the preferred type for use in cars. AC motors can be further subdivided into asynchronous and synchronous, with the former’s rotor circulating out of step with its rotational magnetic field, and the latter’s rotating in step.
The asynchronous motor category includes induction motors, and synchronous captures motors of the permanent-magnet and current-excited types. And this doesn’t even begin to capture the nuances of these smaller subdivisions.
Just to complicate things further, many companies don’t even use the same motors for their whole fleet. Tesla, for example, uses induction motors for the
Model S
, but switches to permanent-magnet for the Model 3, reports
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