The academic study of electric machines is the universal study of electric motors and electric generators. By the classic definition, electric machine is synonymous with electric motor or electric generator, all of which are electro-mechanical energy converters: converting electricity to mechanical power (i.e., electric motor) or mechanical power to electricity (i.e., electric generator). The movement involved in the mechanical power can be rotating or linear.
Electric machines (i.e., electric motors) consume approximately 60% of all electricity produced. Electric machines (i.e., electric generators) produce virtually all electricity consumed. Electric machines have become so ubiquitous that they are virtually overlooked as an integral component of the entire electricity infrastructure. Developing ever more efficient electric machine technology and influencing their use are crucial to any global conservation, green energy, or alternative energy strategy.