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Do EVs Have Catalytic Converters?

View from the bottom of a modern car's catalytic converter.

No catalytic converters are needed for electric vehicles. Internal combustion engines (the kind seen in typical gasoline-powered autos) make poisonous emissions; a catalytic converter neutralizes them by converting them to harmless water and gases.

In all likelihood, every vehicle with an internal combustion engine constructed after 1975 has a catalytic converter. There is no need for catalytic converters in an electric vehicle. There is no need for catalytic converters because they do not generate any airborne toxins. Catalytic converters are unnecessary since electric vehicles lack exhaust systems.

Catalytic converters have been a standard auto part for decades, but you won’t find them in electric vehicles. Keep reading as I discuss the environmental impact of electric vehicles and how they stack up against conventional internal combustion vehicles.

Related: Electric Vehicle vs Hybrids | Do EVs Have Air Conditioning?

Do EVs Have Catalytic Converters?

Electric vehicle at charging station with power supply plugged in and blue energy power effect against the background of hazy nature.

Before we delve further into whether electric cars use catalytic converters and the purpose of catalytic converters, let’s look at what electric cars and catalytic converters are.

What are Catalytic converters?

Some of the hazardous hydrocarbons generated through burning we can mitigate with the help of catalytic converters commonly called lambda converters or exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) systems.

Many catalytic converters can be located in a car’s exhaust system, and the catalytic converter itself is attached to the exhaust port of the powerplant.

Governments across the globe began enacting emission limits because of the negative effects of internal combustion engines on the atmosphere owing to their high fuel consumption and pollution levels.

Catalytic converter technology was rapidly developed by the auto industry to mitigate this problem. The three-way catalytic converter is an example of such a technology. The oxidation zone of a three-way catalytic converter is lined with platinum, which breaks down the toxic NOx gases into harmless nitrogen as well as nitrogen oxides.

Why Don’t Electric Cars Have Catalytic Converters?

Modern electric vehicle EV car charging system uses a power cable pump plug.

Very toxic gases such as hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrous oxide, are let go into the air by an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles’ exhaust systems. The toxic pollutants become carbon dioxide, nitrogen, oxygen, and water by the catalytic converter.

Catalytic converters are unnecessary in EVs since electricity may be converted directly into mechanical motion. Since EV motors don’t produce emissions, a catalytic converter isn’t required. Electric vehicles (EVs) get going thanks to the electrical energy stored in their battery packs. Since no toxic byproducts are created, the procedure is environmentally safe.

A catalytic converter is unnecessary for an electric car because it does not burn any fossil fuels. Since you only need catalytic converters for vehicles that require fuel to operate, this is the case. While catalytic converters help reduce emissions from internal combustion engine (ICE) automobiles, some toxic chemicals are still emitted.

What Is The Main Purpose Of A Catalytic Converter?

The catalytic converter’s main purpose is to lessen the number of dangerous gases released into the atmosphere. A vehicle’s tailpipe is where dangerous chemicals like carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons can escape into the environment.

Do All Cars Other Than Electric Have Catalytic Converters?

A picture of green concept electric car fast driving on the road.

Both gasoline and diesel internal combustion engines typically feature catalytic converters. All modern vehicles, including those powered by diesel, have catalytic converters installed to mitigate the hazardous byproducts of combustion. They are cars that don’t have catalytic converters installed.

When it comes to EVs, a catalytic converter is unnecessary. A catalytic converter is useless for battery-powered electric vehicles. Examples include Tesla cars, which employ electric motors rather than internal combustion engines and hence have no need for catalytic converters.

Vehicles Manufactured Before 1975 Catalytic converters are standard equipment on all new cars manufactured in the United States since 1975. A catalytic converter is a safety feature that is mandated for all new cars but is optional for older models.

Catalytic converters were not standard on any car built before 1975, and the Chevrolet Caprice and Buick Regal of that year were among the first to include them.

In response to public concerns about air pollution, governments around the world have made the use of catalytic converters mandatory. The converters made sure the vehicles were legal for the roads.

Since then, more measures have been taken by authorities to decrease emissions, such as the elimination of leaded gasoline vehicles. Despite these advancements, catalytic converters continue to be standard equipment for most modern internal combustion engine vehicles.

Understanding How Electric Vehicles Function

The internal combustion engine is unnecessary for the operation of an EV, as was noted earlier. With their electric motors and rechargeable battery packs, EVs can travel on public roads without wasting petrol or contributing to air pollution.

Listed below is a simplified explanation of how electric vehicles function:

Electric vehicles can charge up at a charging point and then use that power later. The motor, powered by the battery, propels the vehicle forward. This motion is the result of a complex electrical system working in the background.

Key Components of an Electric Car

Understanding the inner workings of an electric car requires the dissection of its primary components. Among these central features are:

Charge Port

Electric cars in yellow near the charging station.

The battery pack of an electric car can be charged via a port installed on the vehicle. Electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), sometimes called a charging point, is the technical term for these power stations. 

To charge an electric vehicle, a plug-in EV supply equipment (EVSE) must be connected to the vehicle’s charge connector at a home or business charging station.


To power the electric traction motor, EV inverters convert the Direct Current (DC) from the battery system into Alternating Current (AC). 

Inverters are essential for EVs since lithium-ion batteries are only able to receive DC power, whereas electric traction motors need AC power. An EV’s speed is directly influenced by the inverter, which regulates the rate of the AC electricity being fed to the engine.

Electric Traction Motor

New DB Electrical Traction/Drive Motor GCM0001 Compatible With/Replacement For EZ-GO 36-Volt Series Electric Motors 1995-1907 BD4-4001, 73124G03, 5BC48JB1061, 430-22139

The electric traction motor is what gets an EV moving after it receives power from the inverter. Since AC motors are more effective and stable than DC motors, they are typically used to drive electric traction engines. 

The inverter channels alternating current electrons to the powertrain, where they produce a spinning magnetic field and so turn the motor. Electric traction engines are efficient and reliable because, unlike internal combustion engines, there are no gears to move through to transfer foot force to the motor.

Traction Battery Pack

The primary purpose of the traction battery pack in an electric car is to store the energy the vehicle draws from the grid while it is being charged. A vehicle’s motor and other electrical components get their power from this source.

Since they offer one of the largest energy yields of any battery, lithium-ion batteries are used in nearly all electric vehicles today. As a bonus, lithium-ion batteries are less labor intensive to maintain and provide higher currents than their counterparts. 

Rather than relying on the traction battery system to run everything, some EVs have a separate battery that is used exclusively to operate the vehicle’s gadgets.

Electric Powertrain

Powerplant and chassis of an electric or hybrid vehicle.

The powertrain of an electric vehicle is the entirety of the vehicle’s high-voltage electrical system. The traction battery, reduction drive, electric traction motor, and inverter make up the core of an electric powertrain.

These electric drivetrains are small in size, offer rapid torque, and produce minimal vibration. Several electric powertrain inverters can recapture lost energy while slowing. The term “regeneration” refers to the conversion of wasted AC power into DC power when braking.

Types of Electric Cars

These days, automakers provide a wide variety of electric vehicles, each with its own set of features and advantages. Types of EVs that are most widely used include:

The Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

Electric car charging station, power source for charging electric cars.

As a plug-in hybrid EV uses both an electric traction motor and an internal combustion engine, it must be charged using an EVSE and run on gasoline. 

A plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) uses electricity to propel itself until the battery pack is depleted, at which point the vehicle’s gasoline-powered internal combustion engine (ICE) takes over.

Hybrid-Electric Cars (HEV)

An HEV is a low-emission automobile that combines an internal combustion engine with an electric motor and a battery pack. These cars run mostly on gas and can’t be charged through a standard outlet. 

Instead, a generator attached to the gas engine plus regenerative braking is used to charge the battery packs.

While this can’t exist fully on electrical energy, they achieve greater fuel efficiency by making use of a gasoline engine with higher efficiency and less power, and by operating that powertrain more effectively and only switching it on when needed.

Battery Electric (BEV)

Selective focus of the lithium battery pack for an electric vehicle and the internal wiring connections between cells in the background.

In the realm of electric vehicles, the term “battery electric vehicle” (BEV) refers to those that rely purely on electrical power from batteries. 

Because they don’t run on gasoline or internal combustion engines, BEVs don’t release any toxic gases out the back of the vehicle. The electric vehicle charging stations are the only source of power for these automobiles. The Nissan LEAF is a rechargeable battery-powered car.