Do Electric Cars Have Radiators?

Every driver wants a comfortable and hassle-free driving experience. As we all know, Internal Combustion Engines have radiators to cool down the heat produced by the engine, but have you ever thought about what electric vehicles do to cool down their system? Do electric cars have radiators? 

Electric vehicles don’t have an engine, and they work with motors. The batteries supply current to motors creating a circular motion to move the car. For cooling the batteries, electric vehicles use other cooling systems, such as air, water, and heat pumps. 

But what about radiators, then? Let’s dive into this topic and look at all EV cooling systems and radiators.

What Does a Radiator Do?

A radiator is a heat exchanger present beneath the hood and in front of the engine. It transfers the thermal heat from one medium to another. The primary purpose of installing radiators is to cool down the car engine

A radiator has a core which is its most prominent part. Additionally, it has a cooling system for coolant flow, pressure cap, and inlet & outlet tanks. Another component, the radiator hose, allows the coolant to move through the engine.

Working: The cooling process starts when the thermostat near the engine identifies or detects the extra heat. ICEs and EVs use water and ethylene glycol as a coolant in a cooling loop or radiator. The radiator releases the coolant and water that move toward the engine/battery to absorb excessive heat. 

Once it picks up the heat, it transfers the heat to the radiator. The radiator blows the air and cools it down. The fins play an important role in escaping the air outside of the car. 

Do Electric Vehicles Have Radiators?

Yes, electric vehicles have radiators but not all EVs. Instead, they use an electric motor to cool the batteries. Electric cars use the following methods to cool the batteries.

  • Some EVs use radiators to cool the car. Others use a liquid cooling system to cool the car components.
  • Tesla uses a heat pump to remove excess heat from the car.
  • Some electric car users, such as Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt, also use air conditioners to cool the battery.

Most importantly, all cars use different cooling systems to cool the battery. However, the cooling system depends on the brand of vehicle you are using.

Why doesn’t EV have a Radiator? Do Electric Vehicles Need a Radiator?

Cars need a radiator to eliminate extra heat from the engine. The combustion cars use fuel that produces heat in the engine, requiring a radiator to transfer the heat to the outside of the vehicle to maintain temperature. In contrast, An electric vehicle has an electric motor that burns less than a fuel-powered car. For example,  A typical EV can travel up to 70 to 100 miles without burning. Some EVs with powerful batteries range 265 miles per charge. Therefore, there is no need for a radiator to maintain temperature. 

Read: How to Increase Electric Car Range?

Many EVs like the BMW i-3 and i-8, Chevy Volt, and Ford Focus Electric need to cool their batteries, motors, inverters, control electronics, and converters. Their electric motors operate at specific temperatures between 20°C and 45°C, whereas better control over battery temperature improves their performance and life if maintained at operational temperatures. 

Otherwise, high temperatures can cause thermal runaway.

Therefore, they use cooling systems such as water pumps containing a water-glycol mixture that travels through the battery and circulates the mixture to absorb heat. 

Does Tesla have Radiators?

All Tesla vehicles have multiple heat exchangers or radiators. The radiator works efficiently for the cooling system to protect the functionality of the battery. Another radiator works for the HVAC system to keep passengers easy and safe.

According to consumer reports, electric-powered cars like Tesla use heat pumps to cool the car when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold. Heat pumps consume less energy than typical heating methods, so they don’t significantly reduce vehicle range.

Tesla heat pumps work as a cooling system to remove excess heat from the vehicle cabin and cool it down for better performance. It excretes heat energy at the liquid-cooled condenser to the coolant running via the radiator, releasing it into the surrounding air. This way, the driver enjoys a better driving experience.

What Type of Cooling Systems do EVs have? 

You may wonder: Do electric cars have air conditioners? They have cooling systems that are battery-powered and cooled by the following methods.

Water Cooling System

Most EV users prefer to install cooling systems in electric cars. Thanks to the aftermarket industry that has introduced the new cooling techniques in electric vehicles. 

Liquid cooling is a valuable cooling technology that uses a water pump in EVs. It uses water and ethylene glycol to cool down the battery. The liquid travels through the components and transfers the heat to another place to produce maximum output. 

Air Cooling System

This heat dissipation method spreads over the surface area and flows throughout the parts to cool EV. It works with a pre-cooled part and then circulates the coolant through the fins to all parts.

Importance of Cooling Systems – Why do EVs need Cooling Systems?

The cooling system in the car is an essential factor to consider because it maintains the temperature and allows the vehicle to function correctly. Here are the points that explain why EVs need a radiator or cooling system.

Battery Capacity

The more powerful the battery, the longer it will take to charge and discharge. During this charging period, the EV cooling system cools the battery. Thus, an increase in battery performance and longevity are likely.

Temperature of Vehicle

Maintaining the temperature at an optimal range of 15 °C to 35 °C is essential to increase the safety and service life and minimize EV costs. According to CNBC, if the temperature exceeds the normal range, the battery will lose power and be damaged due to continuous overheating. Therefore, the cooling system plays an essential role in removing excess heat from the battery and the car.

Prevents Chain Reaction

Lithium-ion batteries are strong enough to go along, but in any cell of the battery, if the temperature rises, it can create a chain reaction. This thermal runway leads to the exothermic decomposition of the battery. So in electric cars, the cooling system is to maintain battery temperature.

Radiator in Electric Car Compared to Conventional Car

Both electric and conventional have the same basic idea, but still, there are some differences between them. 

Electric vehicles rely exclusively on motors and never use gasoline or any other system to run. They do not necessarily need radiators as EVs require less maintenance and generate less heat than HVs/PHEVs.

On the other hand, conventional vehicles depend on engines. A radiator is required to dissipate the excess heat generated by the engine. It is part of the cooling system that transfers heat to another location, which monitors the temperature inside the car.

There is another significant difference in the cooling rate between the two systems. The flow rate of electric cars at low cooling temperatures is about 500 liters per hour. In contrast, conventional vehicles operate with a higher flow rate of 5000 liters per hour and require high coolant temperatures.


Radiators are essential to combustion cars, but do electric vehicles have radiators? Except for some EVs, all others primarily use air and water cooling systems. Tesla uses a heat pump to cool the car’s interior and battery. If the car does not use a cooling system, it can cause a chain reaction in the battery, leading to battery damage.

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