Do Tesla Cars Use AC Or DC Motors?

Unlike gasoline-powered cars, electric vehicles utilize electric motors. However, two main types of electric motors are used: AC motors and DC motors. Electric vehicles (EVs) will utilize one of these types – this has left many consumers wondering which kind of motor Tesla uses in their EVs. 

Tesla uses both AC and DC motors in their vehicles. In Tesla Model S and Model Y electric cars, a basic AC induction motor is used. For Model 3 and Model Y cars, PSMR motors are used, a type of DC motor that uses permanent magnets. Both motor types used in Tesla EVs have unique benefits. 

This article will explain why Tesla cars use both AC and DC motors. From the different motors used by Tesla to the advantages of each, this is what you need to know about the electric motors used by Tesla! 

Table of Contents

Which Motors Do Tesla Cars Use?

Electric motors can be divided into two main categories: AC motors and DC motors. Of course, AC motors are those that are driven by alternating currents. On the other hand, DC motors convert direct current into mechanical energy to power the EV. 

When purchasing an electric car, the motor will either be an AC or DC motor. In many cases, car manufacturers prefer sticking with a specific type of motor for their electric vehicles. For instance, Chevrolet and Nissan typically use DC motors in their EVs. 

Given that Tesla vehicles have always been fully electric, many consumers wonder about their vehicles’ type of electric motor. The short answer to this question is: Tesla uses both AC and DC motors in different cars. This is evident when you consider Tesla’s current lineup

AC induction motors have been used for years for the Tesla Model S and X vehicles. However, with their Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, Tesla uses a type of DC motor known as an Internal Permanent Magnet-Synchronous Reluctance Motor (PMSR). 

Essentially, this means that Tesla currently offers two different electric motors for their customers to choose from. Firstly, customers could opt for the basic AC induction motor, which delivers excellent performance. However, Tesla customers can also opt for the more powerful permanent-magnet variants. 

Do Tesla Cars Use AC Or DC Motors
Source: Sun Robotics

Why Do Tesla Cars Use Different Motor Types?

The previous section looked at whether Tesla’s EVs utilize AC or DC motors. Of course, Tesla uses both electric motor technologies in different cars. However, you might be wondering why Tesla uses differing motors in the vehicles they manufacture. 

Ultimately, the reason for this comes down to the unique benefits each type of electric motor offers. While using an induction motor can help lower the cost of an electric vehicle, overall efficiency can be increased with a PMSR variant. 

Many consumers believe the PMSR motor goes against the company’s namesake, Nikola Tesla, and his AC induction motor. However, as a company, Tesla has always been focused on improving the efficiency of their cars. Due to this, the implementation of PMSR motors in some of their vehicles should be expected. 

By using both motors in different vehicles, Tesla customers can choose which electric motor best suits their needs. After all, both electric motors have unique advantages that set them apart.

Advantages Of Tesla Cars Using AC Induction Motors

As we mentioned earlier, Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles utilize AC induction motors. Let’s look at the advantages of buying one of these Tesla cars using this electric AC motor! 

AC Motors Are Less Expensive

When you compare Tesla’s AC and PMSR vehicles, there’s a clear distinction in price. Out of the two powertrains used by Tesla, the AC induction motors are the least expensive. This means that consumers can purchase a cheaper Tesla by choosing an AC motor model. 

AC Motors Are Easier To Work On

When you compare the design of AC motors and PMSR motors, it’s evident that AC motors are easier to work on. Furthermore, AC induction motors do not have brushes or commutators, which commonly wear out in DC variants. The more straightforward design of AC motors makes them easier to work on and maintain.  

AC Motors Offer Better Grip

Tesla cars using an AC induction motor will have a better grip on the road, especially on rougher terrains. Essentially, the AC motor will allow Tesla Model S and X vehicles to run more smoothly in these conditions. 

Advantages Of Tesla Cars Using PMSR Motors

Earlier, we explained that Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles use a PMSR motor, which is a type of DC motor. Read on as we explore the advantages of purchasing one of the Tesla cars using this PMSR motor! 

PMSR Motors Last Longer

While there are advantages to AC induction motors, excessive heat is a common issue. With PMSR motors, heat loss is minimized. Not only does this prevent the problem experienced by AC motors, but it also allows PMSR motors to have longer lifespans overall. 

PMSR Motors Are Low Maintenance

When you compare Tesla vehicles using AC induction motors and those using PMSR motors, it’s clear that those using the latter type require less maintenance. While a PMSR system will cost more than an AC one, it will be worth it in the long run. 

PMSR Motors Are More Efficient

Of course, one of the main advantages of Tesla cars with PMSR motors is their increased efficiency. Not only that, but a PMSR motor will increase an EV’s efficiency at both low and high speeds; there’s a good reason Tesla’s PMSR motor is considered one of the best! 


Electric cars all use AC or DC motors. While many manufacturers prefer to use one kind of motor in their electric vehicles, Tesla gives customers a choice. An AC induction motor is used in Tesla Model S and Model X cars. In Model 3 and Model Y cars, however, a PMSR motor is used. 

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