Last Updated on April 4, 2023 by Victor A

Cars are an essential part of our daily lives, and we often take for granted how easily they move from one place to another. But have you ever stopped to wonder, how do cars move? What makes a car move?

In this blog post, we will explore the various mechanisms and components that allow a car to move. While also explaining to you what makes an electric car move, as well as a combustion one.

How Does a Car Move?

A car moves by converting potential energy into kinetic energy. The engine is the primary component responsible for generating the energy needed to move the car. 

The engine is fueled by either gasoline or diesel, and it converts the fuel into energy through a combustion process.

The combustion process occurs in the engine’s cylinders, it mixes fuel and air to conclude in an ignition caused by a spark plug. 

This creates a controlled explosion, which pushes the piston down and turns the crankshaft. 

The crankshaft then converts the up-and-down motion of the piston into rotational motion, which then pass on to the car’s wheels through the transmission and drivetrain.

what makes a car to move the engine bmw v8
What makes a car move? An engine is part of it

What Makes a Car Move?

As mentioned earlier, the engine is the primary component responsible for making a car move. However, other components and systems also play a vital role in the car’s movement. 

One such system is the transmission, which is responsible for transmitting the engine’s power to the wheels.

The transmission is a complex system that includes gears, clutches, and other components that work together to adjust the engine’s speed and torque. 

The transmission allows the car to move at different speeds and to travel up steep inclines.

Another crucial component that makes a car move is the drivetrain. The drivetrain is responsible for transmitting power from the engine to the wheels.

It includes the driveshaft, axles, and differentials. The drivetrain also allows the car to turn corners and maneuver through tight spaces.

Finally, the tires are the components that make contact with the road and enable the car to move.

The tires provide the necessary friction to prevent slipping and sliding and to maintain traction, while they also absorb shocks and vibrations from the road, making the ride smoother and more comfortable.

Here’s a comprehensive video explaining the whole process:

How Do Electric Cars Move?

Electric cars are different from combustion cars, what makes an electric car able to move is an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine to generate the rotational force needed to move the wheels.

A battery pack stores the electricity which turns the motor’s rotors therefore powering the electric motor. This battery pack is typically made up of lithium-ion cells, similar to those you can find in smartphones and laptops.

These cells are connected to create a large battery, which can store enough energy to power the car for many miles.

When the driver presses the accelerator pedal, the electric motor receives a signal from the car’s control system, which tells it to start turning.

The motor uses the electricity from the battery to create a magnetic field, which interacts with the magnetic field created by the rotor.

This interaction creates a rotational force, which then transfers it to the wheels through a transmission or a single-speed gearbox.

Unlike traditional cars, electric cars do not have a clutch or a traditional gearbox. Instead, they use a single-speed gearbox or a transmission that can change gear ratios electronically. 

This means that electric cars do not require the same level of maintenance as traditional cars, and they have fewer moving parts that can wear out over time.

In addition to the electric motor and battery pack, electric cars also have regenerative braking systems.

These systems capture the energy that is normally lost during braking and store it in the battery pack. This helps to extend the car’s range and reduce the amount of energy needed to power the car.

How does an electric car move?
Electric car layout

How Do Cars Move?

To summarize, cars move by converting potential energy into kinetic energy. The engine makes this conversion possible, which converts fuel into energy through a combustion process.

Other components and systems, such as the transmission, drivetrain, and tires, also play a vital role in making the car move.

While electric cars rely on electricity stored in a battery pack to generate the energy needed to move.

The electric motor uses this energy to create a rotational force, which then transfers it to the wheels through a transmission or a single-speed gearbox.

Electric cars have fewer moving parts and require less maintenance than traditional cars, making them a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective option for many drivers.

The movement of cars is a complex and fascinating process that involves many different components and systems working together seamlessly.

Understanding how cars move can give us a better appreciation for the engineering and technology that goes into making these machines.



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