Electric car inside

Do electric cars have gears?

Last updated August 9th, 2023

Most traditional cars have a transmission system with several gears, whilst an electric car’s transmission usually comprises just one gear.

However, vehicles with internal combustion engines generally come with five or six forward gears, whilst automatic gearboxes usually feature between six and eight forward gears.

As a general rule, the greater the number of gears, the easier it is to keep the engine in the ideal power band, which leads to improved efficiency and responsiveness.

Electric motors have all the necessary power and torque from one revolution per minute (RPM), making them far more flexible than a combustion engine. (Electric motors typically spin at around 20,000 RPM.)

With greater responsiveness and instant power, the need to keep an electric motor in a tight power band simply doesn’t exist. This is why most electric cars have a single gear.

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Do all electric cars only have one gear?

No, some types of electric cars have more than one gear, including the Porsche Taycan which features a two-speed transmission.

This helps to improve efficiency when driving at higher speeds (which helped the Taycan earn its spot on our list of the fastest accelerating electric cars).

High-performance EVs are likely to hit these speed bands more often than everyday models. Therefore, many performance car manufacturers feel it's worth adding an extra gear to their electric models to deliver a superior driving experience.

Are there any manual electric vehicles?

There aren’t currently any electric cars available with a manual transmission, largely due to the fact that electric cars don’t need a gearbox.

What’s more, most electric cars are designed to be as simple and user-friendly as possible - and adding a manual transmission could hamper this.

Electric car transmission explained

There are two different transmission types for electric cars:

  • Single-speed transmissions: Electric cars with two electric motors (also referred to as ‘dual motors’) often have two transmissions with one on the front axle and another in the rear. They work in unison but are still counted as a single-speed transmission.
  • Two-speed transmissions: Two-speed transmissions are rarer and more complex than their single-speed counterparts. The first speed will usually handle maximum acceleration, whilst the second speed delivers the top speed (and greater efficiency whilst cruising).

If you’ve decided to sell your electric car and make the switch to a faster model, why not use our car valuation tool to find out how much your current motor could be worth?

Does an electric car have a clutch?

Electric cars do not have a clutch, only a brake and an accelerator pedal.

Can you stall an electric car?

As your speed changes automatically, with no gear shifting or clutch operation involved, it is impossible to stall an electric car.