Electric cars almost always run on an automatic mode, which means they don’t need a clutch to change gears or a gearbox. A typical electric car has one speed and two pedals. One for acceleration, the other for stopping.
The automatic driving system in EVs (electric cars) offers many advantages over normal cars that have an automatic transmission. This guide will teach you everything about electric cars.
Are electric cars equipped with gears?
You may find it strange to get into an electric car, especially if your previous experience was with manual vehicles that had a gear knob. This is because EVs do not have a shifter or a gearbox. Instead, you will find a button or switch that allows you to choose ‘drive’, park’, or ‘reverse’.
You can select from a variety of driving modes if you own a more sporty electric vehicle, like the Porsche Taycan. This has a greater impact on the power output of the motors and the weight of your steering.
An EV doesn’t feel like it’s ‘working through the gears’ when you accelerate. It’s a matter of pressing and going, with only one setting for all speeds.
Why is it that electric cars only have one gear
Two main reasons electric cars only have one gear are:
First, electric cars are more efficient than cars with an ICE (internal combustion engines). This is because they have a greater RPM (revolutions per minutes) range than a standard vehicle.
For instance, EV electric motors can revved up as high as 20,000 rpm, compared with 6,000 rpm for petrol and diesel engines. All-electric vehicles can generate instant power from any rev range, while multi-speed gearboxes with multi-speed transmissions are more efficient when they stay within a specific range (typically between 1,000 and 2,500 rpm depending on the vehicle).
One reason electric cars have only one gear is because the cost of creating them is lower than installing a complete driveline system. Electric cars are more affordable than petrol and diesel vehicles, which allows manufacturers to lower their prices.
Two-speed electric cars
The Tesla Roadster was initially designed with a 2-speed transmission
Some electric cars have a two-speed gear ratio. This allows for better use in cities and a faster cruising speed on motorways.
ZF, a German car parts manufacturer, has provided the EV industry a two-speed transmission. Porsche was open to the idea and chose to use it in its Taycan. It’s currently the only mass-market electric vehicle to have more than one gear. However, ZF is likely to get more orders from manufacturers who want to improve their battery-powered vehicles.
Are all electric cars automatic?
An electric car can have more than one gear, but it remains fully automatic. There is no manual shift to switch between them. The unit switches to the larger gear automatically when it reaches 43 mph. This allows for faster speeds without having to overwork the motor or battery.
Formula E is an exception
Formula One motorsport was given a new dimension in 2014 when Formula E, an electric car version, was introduced.
These cars are only legal on the track. They have 250kW of power and dual motors to make it possible. This translates to a 0-62mph time of around 2.8 seconds, and a top speed at 174mph.
To achieve maximum efficiency, 3- to 4-gear transmissions will be required to maintain torque at higher RPMs and faster speeds.