A silver 2019 Nissan Leaf charges up in a garage.

How many moving parts does an electric car have?

One of the selling points of electric vehicles is simplicity. With fewer moving parts and “ingredients,” there’s less that can go wrong, and correspondingly less maintenance that should be required. But how many fewer moving parts are there? How many moving parts does an electric vehicle have?

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Moving Engine Parts in Electric Vehicles

If one is only focusing on the drivetrain of the vehicle, an electric car has only one moving part: the motor. A gasoline-powered ride, on the other hand, has hundreds of moving parts. The electric motor itself has just one moving part: the shaft. Other electronic powertrain elements, such as the controller and charger, have no moving parts.

Some 4-wheel drive electric vehicles do use a two-motor design, wherein one motor is responsible in each pair of wheels. So in this case, the total moving engine parts would be two.


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Total Moving Parts in an Electric Vehicle

However, if we want to get into detail about moving parts, we can go beyond the engine to elements like the reducer gearbox, differentials, bearings, spacers, braking system and wheels. Electric vehicles also require liquid cooling systems, which include pumps, valves, and so forth. If we take all these moving parts into account, the worst-case scenario ballpark estimated totals would be:

  • 80 – 90 moving parts in a single motor (2WD) electric vehicle
  • 90 – 100 moving parts in a double motor (4WD) electric vehicle

This is in contrast, however, to the several hundreds of moving parts found on ICE vehicles. And high-performance motors can have over 1,000. So electric cars still come out well ahead in terms of mechanical simplicity.

What is the benefit of fewer moving parts in a vehicle?

Having fewer moving parts in a vehicle means that there is less that can go wrong with it, resulting in greater reliability and fewer maintenance appointments. Gas-powered vehicles are loaded with gizmos whirring, spinning and pumping, which means that there are a lot of factors that can go wrong. This results in an endless carousel of oil changes, filter replacements, periodic tune-ups and exhaust system repairs. And on top of that, you have to get the occasional water pump, fuel pump, and alternator maintenance.

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