Difference Between Engine And Motor

Comparisons, Knowledgebase

Last Updated on November 25, 2022 by mdmtool

There is a common misconception that an engine and a motor are identical. In reality, both are two completely different devices. The main difference between an engine and a motor is that an engine uses fuel to create energy, while a motor uses electricity to produce energy.

What Is A Motor?

what is motor


A motor is an electrical device that converts electrical energy into mechanical work. The most common type of motor is the electric motor, which uses electricity to create energy.

What Is An Engine?


An engine is a machine that converts energy into mechanical work. The most common engine type is the internal combustion engine, which uses gasoline or diesel fuel to create energy.

Difference Between Engine And Motor


How They Work: Engines combust fuel to create heat, which is then used to turn pistons. Motors work by using electromagnets to create magnetic fields, which then interact with wire coils to create rotational force.

History: The first engine was invented by Thomas Newcomen in 1712. Michael Faraday designed the first motor in 1821.

Word Origin: The word engine is derived from Ingenium, which means “ability” or “cleverness.” And the word motor is derived from the Latin word movere, which means “movement.”

Made Up Of: Engines are made up of pistons, cylinders, and crankshafts, while Motors are made up of electromagnets and coils of wire.

Size: Engines vary in size, from small engines that power lawnmowers to large engines that power trains. Motors also vary in size, from small motors that power electric toothbrushes to large motors that power washing machines.

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Efficiency:  Engines are typically less efficient than motors.

Converts: The engine converts fuel into energy while the motor converts electricity into energy.

Cost: Engines are more expensive than motors.

Application: Engines are used in many machines, such as generators, lawnmowers, cars, etc., while motors are only used in electric fans, washing machines, electric vehicles, etc.

Types: There are two types of engines:

  • Internal Combustion
  • External Combustion

Internal combustion engines use gasoline or diesel fuel to create energy, while external combustion engines use other energy sources, such as solar energy or nuclear power.

Motors can be classified into three types:

  • AC Motors
  • DC Motors
  • Stepper Motors

Advantages & Disadvantages

Advantages Of Engine

  • The engine is more potent than the motor.
  • The engine generates electricity, which is used for various purposes, such as lighting and powering appliances.
  • More efficient in terms of fuel consumption.
  • Easier to maintain and repair.

Advantages Of Motor

  • The motor is lighter and more portable than the engine.
  • Less expensive than an engine.
  • Easier to operate.
  • Motors are quieter than engines.
  • A motor can be used in many applications, such as cars, boats, and aircraft.
  • Motors produce fewer emissions than engines, making them more environmentally friendly.

Disadvantages Of Engine

  • Engines are expensive to maintain.
  • Engines produce emissions that can be harmful to the environment.

Disadvantages Of Motor

  • Motors can overheat and cause fires.
  • Motors are not as durable as engines.
  • Motors require a constant supply of electricity.

Electric Motor Vs. Internal Combustion Engine

Electric motors and internal combustion engines (ICE) are propulsion systems. They both convert energy into mechanical energy to power a vehicle. However, there are some critical differences between the two.

The electric motor can be powered by direct current (DC) sources, such as batteries, or by alternating current (AC) sources, such as a power grid, inverters, or generators. At the same time, ICE is a heat engine where fuel combustion occurs with an oxidizer (usually air) in a combustion chamber that is an integral part of the working fluid flow circuit.

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In an ICE, the expansion of the high-temperature and high-pressure gases that combustion produces a direct force on some engine components. The pressure is typically applied to pistons, turbine blades, rotors, or a nozzle. This force moves the element over a distance, transforming chemical energy into valuable mechanical energy.

Electric motors are more efficient than ICEs, meaning they convert more of the energy they consume into mechanical energy. Electric motors also produce zero emissions, while ICEs produce harmful emissions that contribute to air pollution and climate change.

In contrast, electric motors have excellent efficiency (about 90-95%). Electric motors are also much smaller in size for the same power output. Therefore, Electric vehicles (EVs) powered by electric motors are becoming increasingly popular due to their environmental benefits and lower operating costs. However, ICEs still have a place in the market, as they are generally more powerful and have a more extended range than EVs.


What’s Heavier: An Engine Or A Motor?

An engine is typically heavier than a motor. The machines contain more parts, including fuel, cooling, and exhaust systems. Motors typically only have the electric motor, controller, and batteries.

How Do Electric Motors Work?

Electric motors work by using electricity to create a magnetic field. This magnetic field is then used to turn the electric motor. The electricity the electric motor uses depends on the motor’s size and type.

How Do I Know If My Car Has An Engine Or A Motor?

The easiest way to tell if your car has an engine or a motor is to look at the fuel system. It has an engine if your vehicle has a gasoline or diesel fuel system. If your car has an electric charge system, it has a motor.

Do Cars Have Motors Or Engines?

Cars can have either motors or engines. However, most vehicles on the road today have engines. EVs are powered by electric motors, while internal combustion engines power ICEs.


The main difference between an engine and a motor is that an engine relies on thermal or chemical energy to produce motion, while a motor relies on electrical power. Engines and motors have advantages and disadvantages, and both machines are necessary in our modern world, so the choice of approach depends on the specific application.

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