Do Teslas Have Engines? (the Engineer’s ANSWER)

As an engineer and green tech advocate, I often come across questions regarding electric vehicles. A common one asked by people new to EVs is: “Do Teslas have engines?” or, more in general, “Do electric cars have engines?” Let’s dive into that question and uncover the truth. So, does Tesla have an engine?

Teslas are powered by electric motors and high-voltage batteries, rather than traditional engines. The use of electric motors allows for a quieter and more efficient driving experience, as well as reducing emissions.

The high-voltage batteries provide the necessary power to propel the car, and can be recharged using a variety of methods including plug-in charging stations and home charging stations. The absence of a traditional engine also allows for more trunk space and a sleeker design.

An audible narration ▶♫🎧 is available for this article. Listen to our podcast below, it's FREE:
Audible Narration

Do Teslas Have Engines?

One of the most commonly asked questions regarding Teslas is whether or not they have engines. Does a Tesla have an engine? Well, the short answer is no. So, how do Tesla cars work? Teslas do not have traditional engines and, as such, they don’t use any engine oil. Instead, they are powered by an electric motor and a high-voltage battery pack which serves as the heart and soul of the vehicle.

The electric motor is responsible for powering the wheels through an advanced propulsion system. Teslas use an alternating-current (AC) motor that can generate high-torque output with minimum internal friction losses, ensuring more efficient energy usage.

If you are curious about what’s inside a Tesla motor, then have a look at this video where they are taking it apart:

Play Video

Electric vehicles offer many pros and cons, for example, this type of motor is much simpler than traditional combustion engines and consists of fewer moving parts, resulting in increased reliability and easier maintenance. The motor is also known for its ability to provide linear torque delivery, meaning that acceleration is smooth and immediate when you press the accelerator pedal.

Moreover, the motor of Teslas is also allowing to have a much simpler transmission and it can turn into a generator as well, allowing regenerative braking. This means that Teslas don’t need an alternator, because their motor can electronically be converted into a generator and turn kinetic energy back into electricity when the car is slowing down.

How Electric Motors Work

First of all, do Teslas have motors? Yes, they have an electric motor, which is a very different thing compared to a combustion engine. Now, let’s dive deeper into how electric motors work!

The Inverter and Alternating Current

Electric motors, such as the ones used in Teslas, convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. The process starts with the conversion of direct current (DC) from the batteries into alternating current (AC) using an inverter.

The alternating current is then delivered to the electric motor, where it is used to create a rotating magnetic field that powers the motor’s rotor. As a result of this process, the motor can rotate the wheels, powering the vehicle.

Regenerative Braking

Teslas also use a system known as regenerative braking. With regenerative braking, the inertia energy that is typically lost when a vehicle decelerates or comes to a stop is harvested and used to recharge the battery pack of the vehicle. The result of this process is that the battery pack receives continuous recharging that extends its range and minimizes wear and tear on the brake pads.

Comparison of Electric vs. Gasoline Engines vs. Hybrids

Compared to traditional gasoline engines, electric motors like the kind found in Teslas are significantly more straightforward in design. This means they require less maintenance and are less prone to breakdowns. They also tend to be more efficient because they don’t have to deal with the intense heat and pressure generated by combustion processes.

Another advantage of electric motors over gasoline engines is their higher torque output. The instant torque delivery provided by electric motors lets drivers enjoy smooth and immediate acceleration.

Given all of the above, it goes without saying that of course, Teslas don’t use any gas.

Luckily, nowadays it is also possible to combine the benefits of electric motors and engines: this is what’s used by hybrid cars. Hybrids have their own pros and cons, but in general, they are more eco-friendly than gas cars and have a lower cost per mile as they use less gas.

I also wrote much more detailed comparisons of:

Teslas and Battery Technology

The high-voltage batteries in Teslas are at the forefront of battery technology, providing a high energy density that translates into longer ranges and more power. Tesla’s pioneering battery technology comes from cutting-edge engineering and manufacturing techniques that allow the battery packs to be compact, lightweight, and powerful. The battery packs are also completely sealed and air-cooled, making them incredibly durable and safe from external factors.

Tesla continues to experiment and develop even better battery technology with the aim of creating batteries that are faster to charge, lighter, and more powerful. This innovation will undoubtedly lead to a future where electric vehicles are even more efficient and reliable than they are today.

The Operation of Tesla’s Drivetrain

While Teslas don’t have traditional combustion engines, they do have a drivetrain that is responsible for managing the electric motor’s power delivery, optimizing how the wheels move and how the vehicle responds to input from the driver. The drivetrain comprises several components, such as a single-speed gearbox, an electric motor, a power inverter, and an onboard charger. All these components work together seamlessly to deliver the extraordinary driving experience that Tesla is known for.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Owning a Tesla

Here’s a table with an overview of the pros and cons of owning a Tesla:

Zero EmissionsHigh Upfront Cost
High-Tech FeaturesLimited Driving Range
Low Maintenance CostsLong Charging Times
Fast AccelerationLimited Charging Stations
Silent Driving ExperienceExpensive Repairs
Autonomous Driving CapabilitiesReliance on Technology
Pros and Cons of Tesla Cars


  • Teslas are eco-friendly and produce zero emissions, making them ideal for environmentally conscious drivers.
  • The instant torque delivery provided by the electric motor makes Teslas fun to drive and exhilarating on the road.
  • The high-voltage battery is powerful enough to give Teslas a long range, up to around 400 miles with a single charge.
  • Regenerative braking allows for any regained energy to be stored in the battery, which in turn increases the vehicle’s mileage.


  • The initial cost of purchasing a Tesla is relatively high compared to similar gas-powered vehicles.
  • The charging infrastructure for electric vehicles is not as extensive as that of traditional gas stations which could cause range anxiety for some drivers.
  • Servicing a Tesla can be more expensive than traditional cars due to the need for highly trained technicians and specialized parts.


Why do Teslas lack a transmission?

Electric vehicles, including Tesla cars, have an advantage over traditional gas-powered cars in that they do not require multi-speed transmissions. This is because the electric motor provides a consistent torque output, making the complexity of a transmission unnecessary. A Tesla vehicle utilizes two electric motors – one in the front and one in the rear – for optimal traction control in any weather. Additionally, as electric cars do not consume gasoline, there is no need for a gas tank or engine that runs on gas.

Does a Tesla utilize a CVT transmission?

Many people wonder about the transmission of a Tesla. Unlike traditional gasoline-powered cars with multi-speed transmissions, the electric motor in a Tesla produces consistent torque, eliminating the need for a CVT transmission. In fact, Tesla vehicles have two motors for unparalleled traction control in all weather conditions. So, if you’re looking for a car that doesn’t require a transmission, consider a Tesla.

Does a Tesla run on gas?

Contrary to traditional cars powered by gasoline, Tesla vehicles run solely on electricity with no gas engine. Instead, they are equipped with electric motors that provide consistent torque and excellent traction control in all types of weather and road conditions. Therefore, there is no need for multi-speed transmissions which are commonly found in gas-powered vehicles.


There you have it. So, do Teslas have an engine? Teslas do not have engines! Don’t worry, there’s no need to panic because they have something even better instead. The innovative use of electric motors and high-voltage batteries not only delivers a quiet and more efficient driving experience but also helps to reduce emissions without compromising on power and performance.

Moreover, Tesla is also developing its first electric truck, the cybertruck. If instead you don’t want to wait, here are the best electric trucks available to buy right now.

So if you’re in the market for a new car and want to join the green revolution, do yourself a favor and check out a Tesla. You won’t miss the noisy engine, and you’ll love the more spacious trunk and sleek design. And who knows, maybe with the money you save on gas and maintenance, you can finally take that road trip you’ve been dreaming of. So, do Teslas have engines? Not a chance, but they do have something even better!