Do Electric Cars Have Catalytic Converters?

If you know much about internal combustion engine vehicles, then you know they all come fitted with a catalytic converter.

They have been a mandatory part of cars since 1975 when they first appeared as a must have on American vehicles.

Why Do Cars Have Catalytic Converters?

Catalytic Converter

A catalytic converter placed under a vehicle in the exhaust- courtesy of wikimedia

Before we get to electric cars, let’s dive a bit deeper into what catalytic converters do.

One of the biggest goals with internal combustion engines for the last 50 years has been to increase their fuel efficiency and decrease their emissions. After all, not only are the emissions creating green house gases, they are also responsible for pollution that kills hundreds of thousands of people around the world each year.

Adding a catalytic converter to your vehicle will help reduce any toxic pollutants such as carbon monoxide and various oxides of nitrogen – often labelled NOx. They have improved over the years, but ultimately a lot of pollution is still emitted from any gas powered car.

Electric Cars and Catalytic Converters

A 100 percent electric car does not have a catalytic converter. Instead of a gas powered (internal combustion engine) they use an electric motor to drive the car, so do not produce any harmful gases.

And because there are no gases, we do not need to clean them up with a converter.

However, this only applies to 100% electric vehicles, or so called BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV, HEV)

Hybrid electric vehicle with battery, motor and engine

Hybrid cars, on the other hand, have both a gas powered engine and an electric motor. So, any type of Hybrid vehicle needs a catalytic converter. In fact, they are far more complex vehicles than either a normal ICE vehicle or a BEV vehicle because they have both types of propulsion.

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