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Petrol powered cars are sometimes described as having an "Internal Combustion Engine" (ICE). This describes the chemical processes happening inside the engine: mainly the combustion of petrol.

Could electric cars be described with the word "Internal Ionisation Engine" (IIE). This would describe the chemical processes happening inside the batteries: oxidation/reduction and movements of ions.

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It's a very poor analogy, especially in presence of ion engines used for space travel, where the propellant is ionized inside the engine, then accelerated outwards.

Besides, the electric cars are based on standard electric motors - all the ion transmission happens in batteries, which are not a part of the engine. The engine is based upon rotating (or switching) induced magnetic field. Nothing "ion" to it.

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  • $\begingroup$ In an Internal Combustion Engine, chemical reaction and transformation of energy into a mechanical force happen in one place, inside the engine. In contrast, as you wrote: "all the ion transmission happens in batteries, which are not a part of the engine". That is to say, the chemical reaction happens in the battery and the conversion of electricity into a mechanical force happens in the electric motor. Those are 2 different places. I imagine electric cars could be described as having an "External Ion Flow Engine" or an "Electric Motor Powered by Ions Flowing in an Attached Battery" EMPIFAB. $\endgroup$ Aug 24 '17 at 13:33
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    $\begingroup$ @PaulRougieux: You're overthinking it. Electric motor, chemical battery. This is engineering.SE, not philosophy.SE. $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Aug 24 '17 at 14:08
  • $\begingroup$ EMCB sounds good as well. I asked here because I thought engineers are probably better equipped than philosophers when it comes to naming battery and motor related stuff. $\endgroup$ Aug 24 '17 at 14:26
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    $\begingroup$ Technically, it's an electric motor because the energy is produced externally, and a combustion engine because the energy is produced internally. @PaulRougieux is following this convention $\endgroup$ Aug 24 '17 at 15:17
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    $\begingroup$ @PaulRougieux: Again, not Philosophy.SE. The distinction of what is considered energy source and what is energy carrier is mostly arbitrary and traditional; usually reversible processes (where the reversal is actively pursued, not just theoretically possible) are referred to as carrying energy, while irreversible, or unpractical to reverse are energy sources - although this is not universal; if you consider a closed system where a reversible storage is not recharged, it's a source. The same electric car battery can be source in car alone, or carrier in transport system with charging stations. $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Aug 25 '17 at 7:53

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