What is the difference between a motor and an engine?

The engine and motors are used all over the world for different applications. They are used for industrial, automobile, and residential applications. The main difference between an engine and a motor is that an engine runs due to the combustion of the fuel while an electric motor runs on electricity. Both engine and motor represent a machine utilized to convert some form of power into mechanical power. This article mainly describes the difference between motor and engine.

difference between motor and engine
Difference Between Motor and Engine

What is an Engine

The Latin term “Ingenium” is used to drive the word “engine.” An engine is a mechanical device that transforms fuel energy into mechanical power.

There are multiple types of engines that are used in various applications such as cars, motorcycles, buses, ships, etc. The engines divide into two major types:

  1. External Combustion (EC) Engine
  2. Internal Combustion (IC) Engine

Internal combustion engine vehicles have a fuel tank. The engine takes fuel from this tank and generates power to run the vehicle. Engines typically have a more complex process than electric motors, but IC engines do not need controllers or electric motors, which can result in significant weight savings. Therefore, IC engines don’t have a very high weight.

Internal combustion engine, difference between motor and engine
IC Engine

These engines have ports, pistons, combustion chambers, and compression cylinders. The IC engines have different types based on their working cycle, number of strokes, and type of fuel (such as petrol, diesel, or gas engine).

Despite the torture system, the common denominator here is improving or transforming energy to produce movement. The main purpose of all types, such as nuclear, mechanical, electrical, or thermal engines, is to produce motion. The difference is that the motor works from an external source while the system contains its own source of fuel to create motion.

The major parts and function of the engine are given below:

  • A fuel pump or fuel inject uses to deliver fuel inside the chamber to mix fuel with the air, and the ignition process can start.
  • Petrol or SI engine uses a spark plug. When the pressure of the air-fuel mixture reaches up to the desired pressure, the plug generates a spark due to that air-fuel mixture combustion process takes place.
  • The inlet port and outlet port allow the fuel and air to go into the compression chamber and help to discharge the waste gases.
  • The piston has an up and down motion inside the compression chamber. It compresses the air or air-fuel mixture.
  • The connecting rod will slide when the piston reciprocates upward and downward due to a controlled explosion. This connecting rod transfers this piston motion to the crankshaft, which then moves the wheels of your car.

Read Also: Different types of Engines

What is a motor?

A motor is a mechanical device that transforms electrical energy into mechanical work. The AC or DC like a generator, inverter, or battery uses to run the motor.


The electric motor works by the interaction of the electric motor’s magnetic field with the wire winding current, which exerts a force in the kind of torque on the shaft of the motor.

The AC (alternating current) or (DC (direct current) like rectifiers and batteries are used to drive the motor. It has brushes, a commutator, armature, field magnet, a power supply, and an axle.

Read Also: Different types of IC Engines

Engine VS Motor

The main difference between the engine and electric motor is given below:

The device that transforms thermal energy into mechanical energy is called an engine.A motor is a device that transforms electric power into mechanical work.
The word engine uses to represent a reciprocating engine such as IC or steam engine.The word motor uses to represent a rotating device like an electric motor.
It gets power by burning fuel.It is powered by AC or DC like a generator, inverter, or battery.
Piston, combustion chamber, fuel tank, fuel pump, fuel injector, connecting rod, and crankshaft are the parts of the engine.Brushes, commutator, armature, field magnet, power supply, and axle are the parts of the motor.
They can use different types of fuels like petrol, diesel or gas.They use AC or DC.
The engines have high initial costs.The motors have low initial costs.
They generate more noise.They generate less noise.
The engines have high CO2 emissions.The motor has very low CO2 emissions.
It has less service life than a motor.It has a high service life.
It needs very high requirements.It requires low maintenance.
The engine has a low maintenance cost.The motor has a high maintenance cost.
It has a high overall cost.It has a low overall cost.
The cost of the fuel is high than electricity.The electricity has a low cost.
There are very low or no chances of fatality due to an engine.There are high chances of fatality due to electricity.
Tool, instrument, diesel, and diesel are the synonyms of an engine.Generators, cylinders, turbines, and transformers are the synonyms of motors.
They are not much environmentally friendly like a motor.They are environmentally friendly.

FAQ Section

What is the main difference between an electric motor and an engine?

A motor is a device that transforms electric energy into mechanical work while an engine is a device that transforms the thermal energy of the fuel into useful work.

What are the types of motor?

The major types of motors are given below:

  1. Slip ring induction motor
  2. Double squirrel cage motor
  3. Squirrel cage induction motor
  4. Three phase synchronous motor
  5. Cumulative compound motor
  6. DC shunt motor
  7. DC Series Motor

What are the parts of the motor?

electric motor parts

The major parts of an electric motor are given below:

  1. Axle
  2. Brushes
  3. Commutator
  4. Rotor or armature 
  5. Bearings
  6. Shaft
  7. Commutator
  8. Housing
Read More
  1. Different types of Reciprocating Engines
  2. Types of IC Engines
  3. Working and types of Petrol Engine
  4. Working of Diesel Engine

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