Do Electric Cars Have Gears Or Are All Electric Cars Automatic?
As electric cars grow in popularity, so too does questions like “do electric cars have gears?” And, “are all electric cars automatic?”
For UK buyers, these are important questions given the popularity of manual cars.
Electric cars, nine times out of ten, are automatic. Why that is comes down to the single gear found in most EVs you’ll find.
And then there’s PHEVs… Do hybrids have gears?
Besides, there’s no need for a gearbox when you have all that torque behind you. There’s more to it than that, but we don’t want to give it all away immediately.
You’ll need to continue reading below to learn more about automatic electric cars and why electric vehicles have no conventional gears.
It’s well worth the read. Trust us.
It could prove the difference-maker in buying an EV now rather than later, too.
Do Electric Cars Have Gears?
Electric cars come with the one gear as they don’t require a multi-speed gearbox to get them going, unlike standard gas-guzzling vehicles.
How can electric cars only have one gear? Well, EVs can generate much higher revs in comparison.
A standard combustion engine motor can only reach around 6,000 rpm (revs per minute). Compare that to the 18,000 rpm of the Tesla Model 3, and you really start to see the difference.
Moreover, electric cars can generate a hell of a lot of torque at low speeds. In other words, this allows electric cars to accelerate a lot faster and is why vehicles like the Model 3 can go from 0-60mph in 3.1 seconds.
You see, standard internal combustion engine (ICE) cars rely on gear shifts to maintain the torque required to speed up. Gears maintain that power between set amounts, encouraging the drivers to change gears to match what is required.
You wouldn’t get far sitting in first gear all the time, would you?
The difference in torque is instantly noticeable and is one of the major selling points of electric cars in general.
So, do electric cars have gears? Yeah, just the one in most vehicles, which negates the need for a traditional gearstick. Instead, you’ll find a switch or multiple buttons inside that allows drivers to reverse, park, or drive.
Theoretically, electric cars could have gears, but they’re not as necessary as you might think. Installing drivetrains into electric vehicles can be quite expensive for manufacturers, too. This would only cause the price of EVs to increase as a result.
Not to mention, fewer moving parts makes maintaining electric cars a lot easier. The last thing these electric car companies want is their customers to pay more to keep their vehicles in working order.
Two-Speed Electric Cars are Slightly Different
Porsche decided to do things a little differently when they released their Taycan electric car.
Look under the hood of this EV, and you’ll find a two-speed gearbox developed by German automobile part maker ZF.
Even with the additional gear, the Taycan is still considered an automatic car. So how do you switch between gears? You don’t, but the Taycan will, on its own, when it reaches a certain speed (43mph).
This pushes the Taycan to travel faster without putting too much pressure on the motor/battery. You see, electric cars can have multiple gears when it benefits speed.
Single gear electric cars do make up the majority of EVs on the road but expect to see more two-speed options soon. Oh, and single gear EVs aren’t going anywhere; they benefit city vehicles too much.
The Rimac C_Two hypercar was first unveiled in 2018, hailed for its high-performance powertrains. That’s right, this is another two-speed electric car, due to release this year if everything goes to plan.
Here’s an interesting fact: the Tesla Roadster was initially meant to be a two-speed EV.
Supercars are the only types of EVs with two-speed gearboxes. So the chances of you buying one as your first electric car is highly unlikely.
They do come with a hefty price tag, after all.
But wait, it gets faster.
Teams in the famous Formula E competition have dabbled with three-speed gearboxes. In particular, the Audi team ran tests on a car in 2017, although they chose to run a single-gear model for the following season.
Do Electric Hybrids Have Gears?
Hybrids and plug-in hybrids are different to all-electric vehicles in that they still rely on standard fuel to drive.
However, when it comes to gears, most follow that single gear archetype we’ve touched on already. We can see why buyers might consider hybrids an exception, given they’re only part electric, but yeah, they aren’t manual.
As explained, single-gear electric cars are not only cheaper to manufacture, but they’re also incredibly powerful.
The internal combustion engine in these vehicles tends to run power via an automatic or CVT gearbox. In other words, there are no manual hybrid electric cars out there, sorry.
That’s a golden rule you can apply to all electric cars, regardless of type, brand, or price.
It can take some getting used to; we aren’t denying that, but it does make life behind the wheel a lot easier.
Are Electric Cars Automatic?
Electric cars fall into the automatic category, yes.
You won’t find a single manual electric car no matter how hard you look.
You see, electric cars can’t stall like standard combustion engine vehicles. Meaning there’s no need for a clutch or gears. If automakers installed these parts, they’d do it only to ease certain manual drivers in.
Would they actually make manual electric cars? We don’t think so. All electric cars are automatic for a reason. They’re cheaper to manufacture without a standard gearbox, and they’re all the more powerful for it (more on that later).
Moreover, the braking system found within automatic electric cars is a lot different too. Cars like the Audi e-Tron and Nissan Leaf employ regenerative braking.
Regen braking turns kinetic energy generated by slowing down and giving it back to the battery, thus adding more miles to your journey.
It’s all very interesting and something you’ll want to learn about if you’re to invest in an EV anytime soon.
But yes, back to all-electric automatic cars.
UK drivers will no doubt have their opinions when it comes to automatic electric cars. You hear them referred to as the “lazy man’s car,” but it won’t be long before every English driver is sat behind the wheel of an EV.
This is a matter of when, not if, which begs the question: what are the positives/negatives of automatic electric cars?
Benefits to Automatic EVs
All electric cars are automatic, and that fact isn’t likely to change anytime soon.
We’ve briefly mentioned the benefits of automatic electric cars already, but here’s a quick recap:
- They’re a lot cheaper to manufacturer, thus lowering the sale price for buyers.
- Instant torque allows automatic electric cars to travel insanely fast in no time at all.
- No need to shift gears is a lot more convenient in the long run.
Everything about these vehicles has been streamlined to benefit the driver and the manufacturing process.
Consider how much it costs to install a new gearbox privately (£4,000). Now think of how much money automakers would need to pay during the development/production stages to make manual electric cars.
An increase in manufacturing costs would only spark an increase in how much the vehicle would be. Electric cars are expensive enough, to begin with.
Why would you want to pay more for the sake of convenience?
Electric cars with single-gears — and two-speed types — can generate a lot of torque right off the bat.
Comparing torque between the standard Fiat 500 and the electric Fiat 500e, for the perfect example. One can go from 0-60mph in 9 seconds, and the other in 13.8 seconds; take a guess at which is which.
Acceleration is one of many reasons why so many have shifted gears (pun intended) and purchased an automatic electric car.
Most won’t admit it, but automatic cars — both electric or otherwise — are a lot more convenient for drivers.
Think about it.
There’s no need to put pressure on a clutch because there is no clutch. You simply sit and press one of two pedals to move/stop.
Never again will you look like a fool stalling at junctions.
Disadvantages to Automatic EVs
We can’t mention automatic electric cars without covering the pitfalls of said vehicles.
Adapting to automatic driving is a tough pill to swallow for many avid drivers. It’s one of the reasons why questions like: “do electric cars have gears?” And “are all electric cars automatic?” Keep popping up.
When you’ve been driving around in a manual car for your entire life, being told you need to switch — as early as 2030 — to an electric car can be jarring for any petrol head.
Change is always good when it benefits greener alternatives, but there will be a Turing period.
No revving appears to be the most common complaint we see. Some drivers love the roaring sound of an engine on their travels. With electric cars, you don’t get that added oomph because these vehicles are practically noiseless.
Fuel running through the engine and coming out the back exhaust may feel like you’re atop a powerful beast of some kind, but think of how many emissions you’re producing.
At the end of the day, all automatic electric cars were made to tackle an inherent problem with emissions. We think losing out on a few revs for the sake of the environment is a decent trade-off, all things considered.
There are a lot of strong opinions when it comes to EV and automatic cars in the UK. So, these sorts of arguments were bound to materialise at some point.
In Short: Do Electric Cars Have Gears or Are All Electric Cars Automatic?
Some might hate driving automatic cars for some reason or other. But there’s no denying the power these vehicles possess.
Soon everyone will be riding “the lazy man’s car.”
So what have we learned today? We’ve learned that all electric cars have single gears regardless of type. Supercars come with two-speed gearboxes built for speed, with more, probably, on the way.
Oh, and we know that electric cars come with insane amounts of torque, unlike standard ICE rides.
It might take some getting used to if you live in the UK, but automatic electric cars are the future. You could see the odd manual electric car in the future. However, expect the price of those vehicles to be costly, as automatic cars are a lot cheaper to produce, as mentioned.
Don’t write automatic electric cars off already.
All it takes is one trip behind the wheel to change your mind.
Automatic Electric Car FAQs
We hope you found the above info as helpful as possible. In this section, we’ll be going over some of your frequently asked questions on electric cars, gears and automatic vehicles.
What benefits are there to owning an automatic electric car?
Outside of being an eco-friendly ride, automatic electric cars come with a range of outstanding benefits. They’re a lot more convenient than manual cars, for starters.
You’ll find these EVs perform better in terms of acceleration and speed, too.
How many gears do electric cars have?
Most EVs you come across will have one gear, known to most as ‘single-gear’ cars. Some supercars — like Porsche’s Taycan and the upcoming Rimac C_Two — come with two-speed gearboxes for maximum speed.
Do Teslas have gears?
No. Teslas are single-speed electric cars. In other words, they only have one gear and therefore have no need for a gear stick/clutch.
Teslas wouldn’t be as revered as they are now if they followed traditional car standards. We have a full guide on the fastest electric cars in the world, if you’d like to know more?
Why does an electric car not need gears?
Electric batteries provide better rpm, meaning they don’t need to switch between gears to maintain speed/move faster.
Adding more gears would only make manufacturing these vehicles a lot more complex. Fewer moving parts means owning an automatic electric car comes with lower maintenance costs.