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.
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.
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.
There are two different transmission types for electric cars:
Electric cars do not have a clutch, only a brake and an accelerator pedal.
As your speed changes automatically, with no gear shifting or clutch operation involved, it is impossible to stall an electric car.