Over the past years, the evolution of electric vehicles has progressed rapidly. This rapid increase in technology has brought about better propulsion systems, which include the motor, controller, and batteries. There are two basic types of propulsion systems: alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC). The early electric vehicles used DC propulsion systems because they were less expensive and the controllers were considerably less complex. However, these systems do have their drawbacks. They are bigger, heavier, have less power capabilities, and are less efficient at transforming the electrical energy from the battery to mechanical energy at the wheel. AC propulsion systems have many advantages over DC propulsion systems: 1) AC propulsion systems are more efficient at transforming the electrical energy from the batteries to mechanical energy at the wheels; 2) The AC propulsion system has twice the peak power capabilities as a comparable DC propulsion system. This allows much faster accelerations and the higher continuous power rating allows for higher cruising speeds and 3) The AC system weighs about 40% less than the DC system and is proportionally much smaller. This savings in weight translates into increased range and less road wear and the reduced weight translates into less wear and tear on all vehicle components. However, the primary disadvantages of the AC propulsion system in comparison to DC systems are the increased complexity of the controller, and the increased cost of the propulsion system which averages about twice the cost of a DC system, but added investment in an AC propulsion system will pay off in the long run.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Electric Transit Vehicle Institute

    1617B Wilcox Boulevard
    Chattanooga, TN  United States  37406
  • Publication Date: 1995


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 1 p.
  • Serial:
    • Publisher: Electric Transit Vehicle Institute

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00713631
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 13 1995 12:00AM