Do Electric Vehicles Have Alternators?

The process of transforming wasted rotational energy into electrical energy involves alternators. That’s why so many people wonder if electric vehicles have them.

As someone who has worked as an electrical mechanic, I will explain.

Quick Summary: Reasons Why Electric Cars Lack Alternators:

  • Electric Vehicles Don’t Waste Extra Rotational Energy
  • Electric Vehicles Have Sufficient Electrical Power to Function
  • Alternators Would Make EVs Less Efficient
  • Electric Vehicles Lack an Engine
  • Less Upkeep Is Needed for Dc Converters than For Alternators
  • Regenerative Braking Uses Power Energy

I will go into more detail below.

Do Electric Vehicles Have Alternators?

There are several good reasons why electric automobiles lack alternators:

1. Electric Vehicles Don’t Waste Extra Rotational Energy

An alternator’s primary function is to transform wasted rotational energy into electrical energy. ICE has a lot of rotational energy, which makes it perfect for powering the car.

Electric vehicles, however, are an exception to this. These vehicles do not have wasted power that requires conversion because they are built to use rotational energy fully. Electric vehicle manufacturers have guaranteed high levels of efficiency. Their primary objectives are to facilitate the use of renewable energy sources and eliminate carbon. So, one of their main elements is the reduction of waste. Alternator energy conversion wastes energy.

Between 40% and 45% of the energy in the alternator is lost as heat, vibrations, and noise.

2. Electric Vehicles Have Sufficient Electrical Power to Function

An alternator, as previously explained, transforms rotational energy into electrical energy.

For electric vehicles to function properly, electrical energy must be transformed into mechanical energy. An alternator would therefore be useless in these cars. Electric motors, used in electric cars, transform energy by producing an electromagnetic field inside a coil mounted inside a magnet.

the concept of magnetism
Video | Tech Vision

The coil experiences a rotational force due to the magnetic energy generated, which generates the mechanical energy required to power the vehicle. For automobiles with internal combustion engines, the alternator generates electrical energy converted to direct current (DC) to help the vehicle function. The 12V battery provides extra power for the car. When the engine is operating, the alternator supplies the battery with power.

rotational motion in electric cars
Video | Tech Vision

The required function in an ICE cannot be fulfilled by electricity supplied by a 12V battery. As a result, the alternator serves as a second supply source.

The alternator also ensures that other ICE components requiring electric power have a sufficient supply. Since electric vehicles are made to run on electricity, this is not the case.

As a result, the vehicle’s internal system can provide all the energy it requires.

3. Alternators Would Make EVs Less Efficient

Efficiency is another important factor that eliminates the need for alternators in electric vehicles. These cars are built to run on electricity. Consequently, it would be inefficient to use electricity to generate power. As a result, the device would produce needless inefficiencies.

The 12V battery is kept charged by an alternator. Since electric automobiles have a more effective method of maintaining the battery charged, this isn’t a crucial requirement in the case of electric vehicles. The DC-to-DC converter found in electric vehicles eliminates the need for an alternator.

Note: AC Motors Power Electric Vehicles.

The device transfers energy from the primary battery pack to the 12-volt battery. Consequently, an alternator is not required.

4. Electric Vehicles Lack an Engine

Since electric cars function on a motor rather than an engine, they don’t require an alternator.

To function, an alternator needs mechanical energy. The engine’s ability to burn fossil fuels provides energy. An alternator would be unnecessary in an electric car because they don’t have an engine that burns fuel. So, an electric motor would operate an electrical device, which is unreasonable. For the motor to use the required energy, more electricity would be used than produced. An electric car does not require a perpetual motion machine, but if the alternator could produce more energy, it could.

5. Less Upkeep Is Needed for Dc Converters Than For Alternators

DC converters are frequently employed in electric vehicles to transform electric energy into the necessary voltage. Because they require less maintenance than alternators, EV makers prefer them. When compared to alternators, these devices are smaller and lighter.

They Lack Moving Parts, Such as Belts and Pulleys.

These components need regular maintenance because they are prone to damage. Hence the DC converter in your car wouldn’t need as much maintenance if they weren’t there. Electric vehicle alternators would be difficult to use, resulting in higher installation costs.

6. Regenerative Braking Consumes More Energy

Vehicles using internal combustion engines have a lot of rotational energy that is wasted. However, this is not the case for electric cars because all the rotational energy is produced on the wheels when the automobile slows down. The makers of electric vehicles were aware that there might be energy loss during this procedure. To use the extra energy, they adopted the idea of regenerative braking.

Alternators in EVs: General Pros and Cons Pros


They would operate more effectively at high speeds.


  • Electric vehicles don’t squander extra spinning energy
  • Electric vehicles can run on enough electrical power
  • Alternators would make electric vehicles less efficient.
  • Electric vehicles lack an engine
  • Compared to alternators, DC converters require less maintenance
  • Regenerative braking requires more energy to operate

Video References

Tech Vision

Jeremy Fielding

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About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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