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Do Electric Cars Have Catalytic Converters?

  • Electric Cars
  • Gerard Stevens
  • 5 minutes

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A catalytic converter neutralizes harmful pollutants emitted by internal combustion engines by converting them to harmless water and gases. More than the purpose served, catalytic converters are in the news nowadays as thieves are targeting them. So most car owners in the country are scared thinking when the thieves will target their car. But one doubt you will have is, do electric cars have catalytic converters? Or do electric cars need them? 

In short, the answer is ‘no.’ A catalytic converter isn’t necessary for an electric car. So, the answer will be a relief for those planning to buy an electric car. But why does an electric car doesn’t need catalytic converters? Is there any electric car that uses a catalytic converter? Keep reading our blog to know do electric cars have catalytic converters! 

do electric cars have catalytic converters

What exactly is a catalytic converter? 

A catalytic converter, also identified as a ‘cat,’ acts as a filter for many hazardous emissions that your internal combustion vehicle emits into the air while running. These convert harmful substances like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and nitric oxide, produced during internal combustion, to less harmful ones, like water vapor and carbon dioxide. 

Thieves target these due to the metals they contain. Catalytic converters filter out hazardous emissions using precious metals such as platinum, rhodium, and palladium. 

via GIPHY

Do electric cars have catalytic converters? 

No! As they don’t produce emissions, catalytic converters are not present in fully electric cars. But you can find them in electrified cars such as plug-in hybrids. 

The electrical energy contained in battery packs powers electric vehicles (EVs). The technique is environmentally safe because the cars won’t produce harmful byproducts. An electric car does not require a catalytic converter because it uses no fossil fuels. EVs emit no tailpipe emissions, so they are emission-free during the car’s life. 

On the other hand, cars that run on gasoline require catalytic converters. While catalytic converters help reduce emissions from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, some harmful substances still get emitted. 

Why don’t electric cars have catalytic converters? 

The following are the three reasons why EVs don’t feature catalytic converters.  

No combustion engine  

A car’s combustion engine generates energy by burning fuel and converting it to heat. Of course, this produces toxic gases and hazardous emissions. Electric cars do not have this type of engine because they rely on advanced batteries instead. The catalytic converter is impractical in the absence of a combustion engine. 

Exhaust not present  

The exhaust in a typical car draws gases from the engine and interior and discharges them. Catalytic converters are not used in electric cars because there is no exhaust or exhaust system with emissions. It is the primary reason for people’s tendency to buy electric cars! 

Less harmful emissions  

A catalytic converter transforms hazardous emissions into less hazardous ones. An electric car emits very few hazardous emissions while driving. There is no purpose in equipping an electric car with a catalytic converter if there are no fumes. 

Do hybrid electric cars have catalytic converters? 

Yes, since a hybrid car travels some distance on combustible fuels and the remaining on the batter. The catalytic converter will filter out hazardous emissions for however far they travel on fuel. 

Do Teslas have catalytic converters? 

via GIPHY

No. Since Teslas are electric cars and don’t emit toxic substances, they don’t require catalytic converters. Cars use catalytic converters to transform engine pollutants into water and less potentially hazardous chemicals. Since Teslas are battery-powered cars, they don’t produce emissions and are good for the environment.  

Do all cars have catalytic converters? 

Cars need catalytic converters to meet federal rules, but do all cars have them? Cars with diesel engines and fuel-injected engines require them. As a hybrid combines a regular engine with electricity power, it also has a catalytic converter. Here’s more info on whether all cars have catalytic converters 

Do catalytic converters make all cars more environmentally friendly? 

Having a catalytic converter reduces harmful emissions from fuel-injected engines significantly, but it doesn’t eliminate them. Do catalytic converters make all cars more eco-friendly? No, not always. Catalytic converters can convert up to 90% of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxide into water vapor, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. 

However, some hazardous mixtures will still get released into the atmosphere. Furthermore, the release of gases like carbon dioxide accelerates issues like global warming. While catalytic converters have made traditional cars less damaging to the environment, they cannot fully eliminate hazardous gases’ release into the atmosphere.  

Are EVs more environmentally friendly? 

via GIPHY

Since there are no emissions from an EV, they are clean and environmentally friendly. However, how eco-friendly your car depends on the power grid you use to charge the car. For instance, suppose the location where you charge it relies heavily on coal. In that case, you aren’t having the same eco-friendly impact as someone who charges their car using a renewable energy system. 

The bottom line 

  • Electric doesn’t have catalytic converters as there are no emissions from it.  
  • You can find catalytic converters in all cars and hybrids that used gas and were manufactured after 1974.  
  • Catalytic converters may become a component of the past as more manufacturers are promoting electric cars 

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