As electric vehicles (EVs) grow in popularity, our understanding of how vehicles need to operate is changing. If you’re considering purchasing an electric vehicle, or are just curious about how they work, it’s important to understand how these vehicles function. Even though different models of electric vehicles operate in unique ways, most follow similar mechanics and run similarly. Electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles don’t have an alternator. Instead, they have something called a DC-to-DC converter, which performs a similar function to the alternators in standard vehicles.
Do Electric Vehicles Have an Alternator?
Electric vehicles do not use alternators. This is because electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles don’t get power the same way a gasoline or diesel vehicle might. With traditional engines, the alternator produces energy using the mechanical power it receives while running. Electric vehicles can’t rely on the engine to provide that mechanical power, so it comes instead from the vehicle’s main traction battery. A DC-to-DC converter recharges the vehicle’s 12-volt battery from that high-voltage battery pack.
What Is an Alternator?
An alternator is a generator responsible for generating energy for a gasoline or diesel vehicle’s starter motor. The energy the alternator produces gets stored in the 12-V battery, which the vehicle uses to power its computers, lights, windows, wipers, locks, accessories, and more. In most vehicles, the alternator gets mounted to the engine’s front near an accessory drive belt that also houses the vehicle’s water pump and air-conditioning compressor. When the engine runs, the accessory belt charges the alternator by generating electricity for the battery.
The alternator can use the alternating current from the belt and convert it into a direct current. By converting the current, vehicles can use the electricity to power various features and functions. Most alternators last about 10 years, but some can last for more or less time, depending on the vehicle’s use and serpentine belt condition. A bad alternator can make it so you can’t start your vehicle.
What Is a DC-to-DC Converter?
Electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles don’t use an alternator to convert electricity. They use DC-to-DC converters to take electricity from an unregulated source and produce regulated energy. The converter helps the EV control its electricity output and voltage level to use the energy effectively. It replaces the alternator by taking power from the high-voltage battery pack and converting it to 12 volts so the 12-V battery can use it.
Cars take lots of electricity to run, and the 12V battery couldn’t support the vehicle’s functions without charging while the vehicle was running. In some vehicles, the DC-to-DC converter can boost conversion. This means they can work in reverse, charging the high volt battery pack and the 12V battery.
How Do Electric Vehicles Work?
Electric vehicles require charging. This is where they take electricity from the electrical grid and store it in their rechargeable battery. That battery charges the motor, which turns the wheels of the vehicle. They can speed up faster than typical fuel engines and often feel lighter to drive because of their decreased weight and increased efficiency. The range you can achieve with your EV depends on your vehicle.
Benefits of Driving an Electric Vehicle
There are many benefits to driving an electric vehicle. Here are some reasons to consider switching from a traditional fuel-powered car to an electric one:
One great benefit of driving electric is savings. Because they rely on the electrical grid rather than gasoline or diesel fuel to generate power, you won’t have to worry about gas prices at the pump. This can lead to significant savings in both money and time.
Another perk of driving electric is the benefit to the environment. EVs are cleaner than fuel-powered engines and produce few to no tailpipe emissions. This lowers smog and greenhouse gasses, which can contribute to a healthier planet. Cleaner air means better health for drivers, too. Some argue that because manufacturing electric cars requires coal, it negates the positive benefits of a cleaner engine. However, gas engine cars also need coal plants to produce their parts. The difference is that gas-engine vehicles continue to produce toxins and contribute to greenhouse gases, whereas electric vehicles do not.
Many newer electric vehicles maximize efficiency to deliver high performance. Electric trucks can now perform with the capability of gas- and diesel-power engines. Cars can accelerate at impressive speeds. Reading about the capabilities of available electric vehicles may convince you of the performance benefits that come with these offerings.
Explore the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5
Hyundai’s 2022 Ioniq 5 is an all-electric compact SUV. It’s a totally unique and impressive electric vehicle offering that delivers premier technology, unrivaled capacity, and a remarkable charging range. The Ioniq 5 gets up to 320 horsepower, which is better than most fuel-powered SUVs of its type on the market. With 303 miles as an estimated range, the Ioniq 5 can take you anywhere you need to go. It also has all-wheel drive available on select models, meaning it’s up for any adventure you can throw.
The 2022 Ioniq 5 comes in four trim levels: the SE Standard Range, SE, SEL, and Limited. The base model, the SE Standard Range, offers a 220-mile all-electric range, ultra-fast charging, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and touch screen navigation. Experience the SE’s 303-mile range with the same great benefits as the SE Standard Range, like the sporty 19-inch alloy wheels. Elevate the look of your Ioniq 5 even more with the SEL. This has full LED headlights, leatherette seating surfaces, and wireless device charging.
The top trim level, the Limited, provides a vision roof, additional technology like a heads-up display and parking assist, and the extended range option.
The Ioniq 5 illustrates some of the many benefits of switching to electric. This iconic and modern vehicle shows innovation on a whole new level. The alternator isn’t the only aspect that’s changed. Experience the thrill of electric for yourself by talking to one of our expert team members at Huffines Hyundai McKinney to let us know what you’re looking for in an electric vehicle.