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How Do Electric Vehicles Work?

Unlike gas-powered vehicles, electric vehicles (EVs) do not require internal combustion engines to operate. Outfitted with an electric motor and rechargeable battery pack, EVs move along our roadways without burning up gasoline, without producing harmful exhaust emissions, and making less noise. If you’re thinking about making the switch to 100% electric driving, Benton Nissan has detailed information on EVs and how going EV can work for you and your lifestyle.

The basics of electric vehicles

How do electric vehicles work? EVs receive energy from a charging station and store the energy in their batteries. These batteries give power to the motor which moves the wheels. Many electrical parts work together in the background to make this motion happen, but overall EVs have fewer moving parts than conventional gas-powered vehicles. Pretty simple.

electricity in motion


Forget gas - Nissan EVs use electricity stored in rechargeable, high-voltage batteries to power an electric motor. The motor converts this electric energy into mechanical power that moves the wheels and allows the vehicle to operate.

plug in, ride on


Electric vehicle batteries need to be charged with electricity. That electricity is supplied from a power outlet. All you need to do is plug in your EV at home or at a public charging station and let the grid do the rest.1 Soon you’ll be fully charged and ready for the road.

create energy


Every time you step on the brakes, energy is lost in the form of heat. Regenerative brakes can capture that energy and store it in the battery so you can use it to let your EV take you even further.

Key parts of an electric vehicle

Breaking down the key parts that make up an electric vehicle is essential to understanding how they work. These key components include:

ev parts

A: Charge Port - connects charging station to vehicle.

B: Inverter - converts the direct current (DC) of an electrical charge into alternating current (AC)

C: Electric Traction Motor - converts AC power into mechanical energy that powers the wheels

D: Electric Powertrain - components that consist of the vehicle’s engine, transmission, and drivetrain

E: Traction Battery Pack - Stores energy during charging to power electrical components

Types of electric vehicles

Different types of electric vehicles provide drivers with a variety of features and varying benefits. The most common types of EVs include:

Battery electric vehicles (BEV)

A battery electric vehicle (BEV) is a zero-tailpipe emission electric vehicle that is powered solely from a battery pack. BEVs do not utilize internal combustion engines or gasoline to operate, so they do not produce harmful tailpipe emissions. These vehicles receive all their energy from Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) that draws electricity from the grid. Nissan ARIYA and Nissan LEAF are both Battery Electric Vehicles. For more information on ARIYA or LEAF, contact Benton Nissan.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEV)

A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) is a low-emission vehicle that utilizes a small battery pack to assist an internal combustion engine. These vehicles receive most of their power from gas and cannot be plugged in to charge. Instead, their battery packs are charged through regenerative braking and using a generator connected to the gas engine. Although HEV’s HEVs can’t run solely on electric power, they maximize fuel economy by allowing the use of a high efficiency, lower power gasoline engine, running that engine in a more efficient way and only turning it on when necessary.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV)

A plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) features both an electric traction motor and an internal combustion engine, which means they require EVSE charging and gasoline to operate. A PHEV runs on electricity until its battery pack runs out of power, in which case its internal combustion engine turns on and runs on gasoline.

NissanConnect EV Services

You’ll have everything you need to know about your EV’s range and charging available at your fingertips on your compatible phone with NissanConnect EV Services.3 Figure out estimated driving range, find charging stations, set charging reminders, start charging your vehicle, and more all through the NissanConnect app.

Nissan Electric Vehicles

ariya ev

Nissan ARIYA

With the performance of a sports car, the versatility of an SUV, and the breakthrough technology of e-4ORCE all-wheel-drive, the Nissan ARIYA is more than an EV, it’s truly a force of wonder.

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leaf ev

Nissan LEAF

Discover the instant acceleration, incredible range, and nimble handling of the all-electric Nissan LEAF – the world’s first mass-produced 100% electric car.

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