Ever-changing, ever-competing automotive technology is evolving at a much larger pace these days. The shift from Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles (ICE) to Electric Vehicles (EVs) represents a monumental change in the way vehicles are designed, engineered, powered and manufactured.
This transition isn’t just about the shift in propulsion but also entails a fundamental difference in components. Key parts like tires, suspension, brakes, chassis, and their suppliers play pivotal roles in differentiating EVs from ICE vehicles.
First, let us look at the only part of a vehicle that touches the road.
EV Tires: What’s So Special?
Though the basic function of tires remains the same in both EVs and ICE vehicles, there are more aspects to it than what meets the eye. The tire plays a pivotal role in the efficiency, comfort and safety of a vehicle. Tires are designed to meet the requirements of the vehicle that’s being used.
#1. Noise Reduction
Unlike the ICE vehicles, upon operating, EVs produce almost no noise since they lack an engine. To preserve the serenity of the ride, one of EV tire’s most crucial jobs is to minimise road noise as much as possible. In an ICE vehicle, road noise is often masked by the engine noise and ICE tires do not have to reduce the road noise much.
Design and manufacturing strategies include specific tread patterns, sound-absorbing foam, and rubber compounds to help reduce noise.
#2. Bearing Heavy Weight
EV tires are designed to handle the 10–20% extra weight that EVs often carry compared to their internal combustion engine cousins. Also, in a normal car as the fuel is consumed by the engine, the weight is brought down. But in an EV the dead weight is constant no matter how many miles of range are left.
Regular tires would wear out faster on an EV since EV-specific tires are designed to carry a higher load and are thus necessary for best performance.
#3. Stronger Traction Between EV Road
EV tires need to perform better in terms of traction, steering, and braking since EVs have high initial acceleration and high torque from the time a driver touches the pedal.
In addition to interlocking grooves in the tread pattern to avoid hydroplaning and balance for the increased torque, EV tires are developed with particularly stiff and broad centre rib patterns to minimise potential slippage and anomalous abrasions. These features help the tires deliver the essential grip.
#4. Prolonged Lifespan
To complement the distinctive driving experience of an EV, certain tire formulations are also required. To create tires specifically designed for EVs, compounds including basic elements like high-loading resin and silica sourced from natural resources are essential.
The stronger and more resilient compounds better support power delivery and provide control compared to traditional compounds. All of these will keep the performance of the EV in line with the comfort provided by the EV.
#5. Lower Rolling Resistance
This is the trickier part, you see, to get increased range the rolling resistance should be lower but with less rolling resistance the traction between the tire and the road gets reduced.
In essence, less rolling resistance results in less energy lost, which raises battery efficiency. Low rolling resistance may be achieved by combining the manufacturing process using a variety of methods, including applying stiff design patterns, tyre profiles, and structures, as well as the different rubber compounds used.
#6. It’s More Expensive
As a consequence, EV tires are often more expensive than standard tires because of their specialised nature. Nonetheless, it is worthwhile to spend the money on a set of high-quality EV tires considering how crucial tires are to maintaining the performance and safety of your car. They are also worth their value since they last longer and don’t get damaged as quickly.
Now that we have dealt with EV tires in depth, let us move on to another important component in both EVs and ICEs
Applying The Brakes In Both EVs & ICEs
While the main purpose of standard mechanical brakes is just to stop the vehicle, regenerative braking recovers energy that would otherwise be lost in conventional braking systems and uses it for the benefit of the vehicle and the environment. Fuel loss is inevitable when drivers continuously accelerate and decelerate. Technology that can absorb and use this energy is employed in regenerative braking to provide power for the vehicle to keep running.
First, let us look at how the brake works in an ICE vehicle.
#1. ICE Vehicle Braking System
The standard braking system in most ICE vehicles is the hydraulic brake, it utilises hydraulic pressure to transfer force from the brake pedal to the brakes.
The main components of a Hydraulic brake are,
- Brake Pedal: Driver input for initiating braking.
- Master Cylinder: Converts the force from the brake pedal into hydraulic pressure.
- Brake Lines: Transmit hydraulic pressure from the master cylinder to the brake callipers.
- Brake Callipers: Hold the brake pads and apply pressure to the brake discs to generate friction.
- Brake Pads and Discs: Creating friction to slow down the vehicle.
When the driver presses the brake pedal, hydraulic pressure is generated in the master cylinder and this pressure is transmitted through the brake lines to the brake callipers. The brake callipers squeeze the brake pads against the brake discs, creating friction that slows down the vehicle through kinetic energy dissipation as heat.
Now let us look at the EV braking system and learn how it differs from the hydraulic braking system.
#2. EV Braking System
Regenerative Braking System is a distinctive feature in EVs, it works by utilising the electric motor as a generator to convert kinetic energy during braking into electrical energy, which is then fed back into the battery for storage and later use.
The main components are,
- Electric Motor: Acts as a generator during braking, converting kinetic energy into electrical energy.
- Inverter: Controls the electric motor’s operation during regenerative braking.
- Battery: Stores the converted electrical energy for future use.
- Brake-by-Wire System: Integrates mechanical and electrical components to control the braking process.
During deceleration or braking, the electric motor operates in reverse, acting as a generator. When the driver releases the accelerator or applies the brake, the electric motor generates resistance, converting kinetic energy into electrical energy.
This generated energy is directed back into the battery for storage, enhancing the vehicle’s efficiency by increasing its range.
Now we have to note an important thing EVs also use hydraulic braking systems to enhance the braking of vehicles while employing Regenerative braking.
The key difference lies in the inclusion of regenerative braking systems in EVs. EVs leverage regenerative braking to recover energy, enhancing efficiency and reducing wear on traditional friction brakes.
Hope now you have a better idea about the difference between EV braking and normal car braking.
Now, let us look at the suspension system in modern-day EVs
EV Suspension Systems
By controlling wheel movement and recovering energy via the use of electric motors and generators, EV suspension technology may enhance the efficiency and ride quality of electric cars. Conversely, conventional suspension systems support the wheels and absorb shocks from the road surface using mechanical parts like springs, dampers, and anti-roll bars.
EV suspension and conventional suspension systems differ in a few ways,
The extra room that electric vehicles have in the engine compartment where the internal combustion engine once resided can be utilised by EV suspension technology. This may enable the steering gear and suspension parts, such as double wishbones, to be positioned more optimally, improving the handling and steering feel of EVs.
Because electric motors, generators, sensors, controllers, and wiring are all involved, EV suspension technology is more complicated than traditional suspension. These parts may add to the EV suspension’s weight, expense, and maintenance needs. To lessen the deterioration of the EV suspension, they can also remove various mechanical components, such as the gearbox, clutch, gearbox shaft and anti-roll bar.
Depending on the driving style and road conditions, EV suspension technology allows for the independent adjustment of each wheel’s stiffness and damping. This may enhance the EVs’ flexibility and comfort throughout the voyage. Conversely, traditional suspension systems are often either fixed or have very little adjustment option.
During braking and suspension movement, part of the energy that is typically lost as heat may be recovered via EV suspension technology. This can lessen the environmental effect of electric vehicles while increasing their efficiency and range. This is not a feature of conventional suspension systems.
As the automotive industry pivots towards electric mobility, traditional component suppliers are changing their product lines to meet the unique demands of electric vehicles.
From batteries to drivetrain components, charging infrastructure to vehicle connectivity, these suppliers play a pivotal role in shaping the future of transportation.
The differences between common components in EVs and ICE vehicles underscore not just technological advancements but also a paradigm shift in vehicle design, emphasising sustainability, efficiency, and innovation.
These shifts in component design, sourcing, and integration are integral to the industry’s commitment to reducing environmental impact and advancing the capabilities of modern vehicles.