What’s The Difference Between A Motor And An Engine?

Motors and engines. Many people have been interchanging these words, and when people say engine or motor, there seems to be just one image that comes into mind, so the question now is, what is the difference between the two.  

So what is the difference between a motor and an engine? The difference between these two is that the engines run on combustion while the motor runs on electricity.

Technologies and devices have evolved. This means that words and languages have also evolved. In the Oxford English dictionary, a motor is a machine that supplies motive power for a vehicle with moving parts and converts power into motion. 

And most people have been using the words now with the same meaning, but the truth is that they have different meanings, and they both have their differences. The problem is that just as years go by, people have been thinking about it having the same meaning and sticking by it. But many people are asking what the difference between a motor and an engine is. 

There are still individuals who want to know their differences and correct their misuse of the words. We have made this article to clarify the real difference between a motor and an engine. So let us get started.

What's The Difference Between A Motor And An Engine

Are A Car Engine And Motor The Same Thing?

A lot of people have been interchanging the words engine and motor. So the difference between motor and engine is that motors are running on electricity while the engines are running on combustion. The engines will convert many different forms of fuel into a mechanical force, while the motor will transform the electrical energy into mechanical energy. 

The words motor and the engine have been used interchangeably by many people, but they are not the same. They are different. A motor will run on electricity and transform the electrical energy into mechanical energy. 

And engines will run on combustion and convert fuel into a mechanical force. Both the motors and engines will convert and modify the energy to produce motion, and the engines will contain their fuel source in opposition to motors that will draw on external sources. 

Languages have evolved and changed, and the same goes for words. Over time, people can get by it. 

What Is A Motor?

Now, let’s talk about the definition of the motor. To understand what a motor is, you need to understand how electric vehicles are working. An electric vehicle has a battery, and the battery is the energy source that will love the vehicle. 

The energy will go through a controller that will regulate the voltage sent to your motors. A motor will power the wheels, moving your vehicle forward. The motor is another term for a device that will move the rest of the system. 

The motor is not derived from an electric motor. Many years ago, motors were energized by wound springs. The motor today is introduced as an electric motor. 

An electric motor is an instrument that will convert electrical power into a mechanical form. The electric motor is widely classified into two types. It is the DC motor and the AC motor. 

The DC type is driven by DC electricity, and AC runs the AC type. These engines are further categorized into many forms, but it will depend on the horsepower, power rating, and many more. 

What Is An Engine?

Now, let us look into what an engine is. In a combustion engine vehicle, you will have a fuel tank, which will send energy into your engine. The engine will transmit power into the transmission and then into the wheels. 

The engine will typically go into a more complicated position to get into the wheels than the electric motors. But the internal combustion system will not require motors or a controller to save a lot of weight from it. The word engine originated from the Latin term “Ingenium.” 

An engine is an instrument or system. The system can be social or political, human, chemical, mechanical, or electrical). 

For example, a bomb can be known as an engine, a crane, or a political party is also an engine. Over the years, the engine then became associated with boilers, furnaces, and bombs.

What Is The Difference Between A Motor And An Engine?

A motor is rooted in the classical Latin movere “to move.” It was referred first to as a propulsive force. Later on, it was referred to the person or the device that is moving something or is causing a movement. 

The word engine is from the Latin word “Ingenium.” A motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy, and the engine converts many other forms of energy into mechanical energy. The engine is a mechanical device that uses a fuel source to produce output. 

The word engine is generally used to refer to a reciprocating engine (steam or internal combustion). And the motor is generally used to refer to a rotating device such as an electric motor. The engine comprises pistons and cylinders, and the motor is made up of rotors and stators. 


In summary, many people do not know much about the difference between a motor and an engine. People nowadays believe that they are the same, which is why they are using words with the same meaning. 

However, motors and engines are different. They are not the same as each other. It’s just that people think they are the same.

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Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more