Tesla Cars and How They Work

Tesla cars have changed the way we view electric vehicles as a whole. Electric cars continue to grow in popularity due to their environmentally friendly design and superior performance ability. In fact, this year alone, the Tesla Model X 75D won AAA’s 2018 Top Green Vehicle Awards and the Tesla Model 3 was declared Popular Mechanics 2018 Car of the Year. There’s no doubt that they are popular cars, but how do Tesla cars work exactly? That’s a question few people have the answer to, so we’re here to help.

tesla model s

Current Models

At this time, Tesla has three models available for purchase. The Tesla Model S is the brand’s full-sized luxury five-door vehicle that’s powered solely with an electric motor. It features a 100 kWh battery pack and offers a range of 335 miles on one charge. It’s been in production since 2012 and ranked as the best-selling plug-in electric vehicle worldwide during 2015 and 2016.

The Tesla Model X is the automaker’s mid-size luxury crossover vehicle that runs strictly on electric power. It utilizes falcon wing doors and features both a second and third row of seats. It’s been in production since 2015 and ranked seventh for sales among plug-in cars during 2016.

The Tesla Model 3 is their mid-size executive four-door sedan. It’s only been in production since 2017 and it received a five-star crash test rating from the NHTSA. Its electric range is 220 miles on one charge, but the Long Range Battery delivers 310 miles. During July and August in 2018, the Tesla Model 3 became the best-selling vehicle when recorded by revenue in the United States.

What Batteries Do Tesla Cars Use?

Tesla is a leader in producing the best electric car batteries. Their batteries receive a charge from electricity which in turn, powers the car. The batteries are similar to what you find in your smartphone or laptop and are lithium-ion. The difference is that the Tesla batteries are made from thousands of the lithium-ion cells. This makes them much heavier than the batteries you use in electronics.

In a Tesla Model S, you’ll find 7,104 lithium-ion battery cells (18650 batteries) placed into 16 modules. Each of these modules contains 74 cells in six groups. They’re wired parallel and then the six groups get wired into a series inside the module. All of the batteries are manufactured right at Tesla, so they are able to maintain strict quality control over everything that leaves the plant.

In addition, their batteries come with their own heating system. This helps people start the car, even during colder weather. All of this extra dedication by Tesla ensures that there are no battery related issues for consumers.

How Do You Charge a Tesla Battery?

Because Tesla uses rechargeable batteries, consumers need a way to maintain their charge. While a full charge takes drivers several hundred miles at a time, there needs to be a way to recharge it. Charging a Tesla electric vehicle is a similar process to powering up the electronics you use every day.

That’s what makes these Tesla vehicles different from a hybrid car. The hybrid uses hydrocarbon fuel and a battery to power the car. In this design, the battery recharges while driving. Tesla only relies on battery power, so there’s no way to charge it while driving. Drivers must use a specified charging station or an outlet at home to plug into.

tesla charging station

Most owners employ a professional electrician to set up the proper charging at home. When that’s not possible, there are numerous Tesla supercharging stations located throughout the country for use. They even offer an app which gives complete monitoring and control over the vehicle’s charging.

How Do Tesla Engines Work?

Tesla’s use a smaller motor; it’s comparable to a watermelon. The engine converts energy from the batteries and turns it into mechanical power which propels the vehicle. It’s far more efficient than conventional combustion engines.

Tesla utilizes a permanent-magnet electric motor in the Model 3. On the Model X and Model S, Tesla still uses an AC induction motor. The difference between the two is that an AC induction motor needs electricity to spin the rotor. With a permanent magnet motor, there’s no current required because it uses magnets which are always turned on. This makes the engine more efficient than other electric motors, but it isn’t ideal for high-performance. The AC induction motor creates more power.

The Aerodynamics of a Tesla Vehicle

For an electric car to perform its best, it must be aerodynamic. Having aerodynamics ensures maximum efficiency and a long-lasting battery. The Tesla Model S came out the winner in aerodynamic testing compared to four other vehicles: the Chevrolet Volt, Mercedes-Benz CLA250, Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius.

Tesla produces some of the most aerodynamic cars on the market. In fact, they’ve won numerous awards that prove just that. Tesla uses digital simulation tools to design their vehicles. This allowed them to shape the car virtually and test out various aerodynamic possibilities. The PowerFLOW simulation software helps them to create the most efficient design of all automakers.

The Model 3 comes with turbine-shaped wheels plus a grille-less, smooth front fascia to help it perform better. In addition, the Model X and Model S both come with a polarizing front-end, which allows them to perform better.

tesla plugged in

As far as the materials used, the Model 3 and Model S are created completely differently. The Model 3 features a steel chassis whereas the Model S is constructed from aluminum. The biggest advantage of steel over aluminum is that the production costs are minimal. There’s also less skill and training required of workers as well as lower repair costs. This design helps to keep the cost down on the Model 3, which you can see in the significant price difference between the two models.

Unique Designs, Unique Cars

There’s no question that Tesla cars are uniquely designed and have an advantage over other electric vehicles. Because the company can devote all of their attention to creating the best electric car, they tend to do it better than most other automakers. Just ask the customers that purchase Tesla cars and you’ll see how thrilled they are. In fact, Consumer Reports ranked them as the top brand for customer satisfaction out of all the car brands around. Tesla seems to have created the best overall package when it comes to electric cars. They provide efficiency, sleek styles and aerodynamics as well.

What do you love about Tesla cars? Let us know in the comments!

Find a Tesla service and repair manual here.


About Nishal Singh

Car enthusiast since before I could drive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *