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Do Teslas Have Engines? The Surprising Answer!

Do Teslas Have Engines? The Surprising Answer!

Determining whether your car has an engine might sound like something you’d never need to ask. 

However, Tesla has gotten a lot of people to ask some surprising questions.

What powers Tesla’s innovative electric cars? Are they engines, motors, or something else? 

Teslas do not use an engine in their vehicles as all their cars are powered by electric motors. Typically, they’ve got one of them per axle. So, a rear-wheel-drive car would have one of them on the rear axle, while an AWD car would have them on both.

Keep reading to learn more about why Teslas use motors and how many motors they use!

What Powers a Tesla?

Sitting under the hood, lithium batteries deliver power to your Tesla’s electric motors. They’d be dead without them, and you’ve got to keep them charged.

Electric motors transform potential energy, in the form of selectivity, into work. 

That’s how they’re able to use the electricity in the batteries to move the car when it’s on.

Transforming the electricity into mechanical energy uses something called a dynamo. These use the flow of electrons to turn crankshafts that rotate the car’s tires.

As a result, you’ll notice the car begins to move once you’ve pressed down on its accelerator.

Usually, an engine actually generates the power it’s using to move its wheels. Internal combustion engines generate it by igniting combustible fuels in a piston chamber.

They’re able to harness some of the energy each time the piston travels around its chamber.

The electric motor in a Tesla doesn’t produce any energy while you’re driving the car. They’re able to recapture some of it by using regenerative braking.

Instead of generating power, they’re simply transforming it from one form to another. 

They take it from the batteries and turn it into mechanical energy.

Motors Vs Engines

Motors and engines sound like they’re basically the same thing, right? Surely, these are just two words for the same basic concept.

A motor differs from an engine in a few key ways. The biggest difference between them would be how they’re generating power. 

Motors don’t generate any power at all while they’re being used. Engines tend to generate all the power they’ve got to have to perform their jobs.

As a definition, a motor is something that transforms energy from one form into another. Most of them transform it into mechanical energy. 

Some of them transform rotational energy into directional, too.

Engines are machines that are capable of generating power. 

The one you’d be the most familiar with would be the one in your car. It’s probably built to use fossil fuels.

Each time you turn it on, it’ll burn them to create power.

Most engines also have a motor attached to them.

That’s how they’re able to convert the energy they produce into a useful form. An internal combustion engine releases energy from the bonds in gas molecules.

Releasing the energy from its bonds causes the gasoline molecules to emit a ton of heat as well. 

By capturing it with the pistons, we’re able to use the heat to create mechanical energy. That’s what’s actually turning the wheels whenever you’re driving a car.

How Many Motors Does a Tesla Have?

Each model has a different number of motors. However, Tesla seems to prefer using 2 of them if possible.

You can determine how many yours has by looking at the manufacturer’s specifications.

The Model 3 Plaid has 3 of them. It changed the original Model 3’s design by adding an additional motor. The new trimotor has helped the model break several records.

The Model Y and S have differing numbers of motors. Most of them are built with 2 motors. One of them is responsible for delivering power to the rear, while the other delivers power to the front.

If your Tesla only has RWD, then it’s probably got a single motor on the rear axle. An AWD model would have another motor on the front axle to complement the one in the back.

Another Tesla vehicle that’s got 3 motors would be the Cyber Truck. Putting an additional motor into the truck has made it possible to increase its output.

As a result, it’s slated to be their most powerful vehicle on the market. It’ll outperform everything they’ve released to the public in terms of raw performance.

Anything released during the first generation of Teslas is only going to have a single motor. 

All the cars they made during their first generation only had one of them. They didn’t add two motors to their cars until they introduced all-wheel-drive.

Adding more engines seems to have made the newest generation of cars a lot more reliable.

You’re able to notice their acceleration a lot more once you’ve put your foot on the accelerator.

Plus, Tesla is even looking into a new type of semi-truck. They’d like to release one that would be able to serve as a rig on long-distance hauls. 

To create something powerful enough, they’re planning on using up to 4 motors.

Do Any Tesla Have 4 Motors?

As of the moment, nothing released by Tesla has more than 3 engines. However, they’ve got plans to develop a truck that’s got 4 of them. 

This truck would resemble a semi-trailer, one that’s meant for long hauls.

It would be able to serve on the road as part of your company’s fleet. Adding one of them to your operations would help you reduce how much you’ve got to spend on fuel each month.

Since they use electric motors, you’ve just got to recharge them. You wouldn’t have to deal with gas stations anymore, either.

Most of the time, you’re able to plug them up at a regular charging station. Then, you’re able to get back on the road within a couple of hours.

Adding a 4th motor to the truck’s design would increase its carrying capacity. 

As such, you’d be able to pull a lot more weight without noticing an impact on the truck’s performance.

Trying to haul freight with only 3 engines is an exercise in frustration. 

You’ve got to wait a lot longer for the truck to reach highway speeds. Plus, limiting the truck to 3 motors would place each of them under more strain. 

That’s going to make them wear out faster, too.

Tesla’s engineers have recognized the benefits of adding another motor to the truck. 

This should improve the truck’s performance and make it attractive to commercial clients.

Benefits of Having a Motor

Motors might not get as much fanfare as engines, but they’re incredibly useful. You can use one of them to transform stored energy into something more useful.

An engine creates power by using fuel, but a motor lets you use that power. 

Without one of them, it wouldn’t matter how much fuel you’ve got. You wouldn’t be able to do anything with all that power unless you got a new motor.

Adding more motors to an electric car changes their performance. More motors usually mean a car will handle a lot better. 

You’ll be able to tell when you’ve got the accelerator held against the floor a lot more easily.

Motors also tend to cost less when it comes to maintenance. Because they’re not generating power, they’ve got fewer moving parts. That’s why they’re usually less expensive to maintain.

Another reason why motors are great would be that they’re lightweight. Most of the time, an equivalent engine would weigh a lot more than a motor. Using a motor could help limit how much your design weighs while creating prototypes.

There are plenty of reasons to consider getting a motor. 

Thankfully, Tesla has been showing everyone how beneficial they can be in the real world.

Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!