We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Electric Propulsion?

By Benjamin Arie
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Electric propulsion is a type of locomotion using electric motors to move a vehicle. This type of propulsion is often used as an alternative to internal combustion engines, such as gasoline or diesel motors. Cars, boats, trains, and submarines are common examples of vehicles that make use of electric propulsion. One of the main advantages of this type of propulsion is a reduction in carbon emissions. Pollution is often lowered when electric motors are used in place of internal combustion engines.

The energy used to power electrically propelled vehicles can be provided and stored in a variety of ways. Some vehicles, such as trolleys, receive electricity from an external source. An electric rail or overhead power line is often used for this purpose. Other vehicles carry batteries, which must be recharged after being depleted. Advanced vehicles, including military ships and submarines, generate propulsion power from onboard nuclear reactors.

Cars that use electric propulsion are often seen as modern and new, but electric cars have actually existed since the late 1800s. Electric cars store energy using batteries. Unlike traditional cars that use a single engine, many electric cars have a separate motor connected to each wheel. Some cars feature regenerative braking, which uses the motors as electric generators. This allows electricity to be collected and re-used every time the car slows.

Electric propulsion can also be used on boats and ships. Like cars, electric boats usually have rechargeable batteries. Boats have several options available for recharging these batteries. Solar panels often work very well on boats, due to the unobstructed view of the sky found on the open sea. Some electrically propelled boats also gather energy from wind turbines.

Nearly all modern submarines use electric propulsion. Standard combustion engines require large amounts of air to function, and generate harmful fumes when running. These disadvantages are avoided when electric motors are used on a submarine. Additionally, many submarines are designed for stealth. Electric propulsion can operate very quietly and help reduce the chances of an undersea craft being detected.

Electric propulsion has been used for trains since 1837. Locomotives powered by electricity are common in Europe and Asia, while traditional diesel trains still dominate railways in the United States. Most electric trains do not hold onboard batteries, but are instead powered by electric lines or rails. These types of trains are very efficient, but the cost of installing power lines along an entire rail route can often be especially high.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.