- T​esla

C​an electric cars have manual transmissions?

H​mmm, what if...?

40w ago

173.4K

As anyone who has done even a modicum of research knows, people don't care about stick shifts anymore. As recently as 2006, nearly half of the models sold in America were offered with a manual transmission. Now, that number has fallen to below 20 percent and falling. Of the nearly 20 million cars sold last year only 2% of those vehicles had 3 pedals, a number which has just been overtaken by the sale of electric cars.

A​nd there's a good reason for this, because over the past two decades automakers have gotten damn good a making lighting fast automatic transmissions with way better efficiency, speed, and fuel economy than a traditional manual transmission.

S​inger

S​inger

H​owever, there remain a small number of pure sports car drivers, who despite the obvious shortcomings of a manual simply adore a stick shift. Their case being that while a manual transmission is certainly slower than a modern double-clutch, it does provide a more pleasing driving experience. Such motorists want nothing more than control of their vehicle, and to them three pedals and a nice shifter is all they'll ever need.

L​ikewise, it makes sense that to these very same people the electric car appears to be the antichrist, well why wouldn't it be? We've established that these people care more about engagement than pure speed, and electric cars are supposedly the opposite of engaging. With no real need for a shiftable transmission, or any kind of engine tuning, EVs seem like death to true car enthusiasts.

B​ut hang on, what if you put a manual into an EV?

N​ow this raises a rather interesting point, because while yes an electric car has no real need for a manual transmission, it may make it a hell of a lot more fun. Because, just like your average V8 an electric motor outputs its power at a crankshaft of sorts, which likewise can be mated to a manual transmission.

H​owever, one issue does remain, electric cars have perfectly flat power curves. This is in direct contrast to an internal combustion engine, which would typically produce its peak power at the higher end of its rev range. The benefit to electric cars being that precisely 100% of the power is available instantly, however, as you might imagine this does dampen its ability to work well as a manual car.

H​aving said that, there is an argument to made for artificially creating power curves for electric sports cars, and then adding manual transmissions. Although this would likely dampen performance, it would aid in preserving the future of the old-school drivers car. Because at the end of the day, isn't it just more satisfying to just shift your own in a manual transmission?

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Comments (53)

  • How about attaching a manual gear box to a hmmm I don’t know........mabey.......a...........BIG V8 WITH GAS AND NOISE AND FUN AND SOUL THAT IS BETTER IN EVERY WAY.

      9 months ago
  • I own an EV, an auto trans and a manual. Each car has it’s place. The EV (Nissan Leaf) is great around town, the auto (Lexus ES) is the go to long distance cruiser and the manual (MX5) is the choice for twisty back roads. A manual shift EV makes about as much sense to me as an automatic with paddle shifters. Most paddle shift cars have a automatic mode that is faster and smarter than any driver which really makes the paddles obsolete anyway.

      9 months ago
  • The purpose of the gear in manual or auto in ICE is for torque multiplication. Now since torque is available right from 0 RPMs on E drive, the purpose for manual shifter maybe for top speed. With a manual maybe the EV motor is smaller and doesn't need to spin @ max speed always perhaps. Maybe EVs can challenge top speed runs... Just a thought...

      9 months ago
    • I think it so .

      This was why the new Project E electric RX car not use it . Formula E also use a same solution .

        9 months ago
  • No, I don't because EVs are not the future. They are a part of the future, and just how significant a part of it is yet to be determined. The future will involve a diverse mix of propulsion types. Internal combustion vehicle numbers will decline slightly over time but will continue to live on in significant numbers through at least 2050-60 aided by sheer vehicle longevity (most vehicles manufactured today can easily last for 300,000+ miles or longer with proper maintenance), lower initial cost vs. EVs, widely available fueling and service infrastructure that is not going away anytime within the next few decades, ever-increasing fuel efficiency (and thus lower and lower emissions) as well as the continual widening of already-long service maintenance intervals, and the reluctance of ordinary driving enthusiasts to trade a personal, stirring driving experience for a cold and heartless one.

    Yes, EVs will will begin to catch on, just as small compact cars began to catch on in the U.S. in the mid-1970s where previously nearly every vehicle was the roughly the size of the Titanic and drank gasoline at a rate of 12 miles per gallon. But just as expectations were wrong in the 1970s that in twenty years every vehicle would be a compact 4-cylinder economy car/van, so, too, today's predictions that nearly all vehicles will be EVs in a few years are nothing more than people and corporations trying to artificially create and manipulate the future by simply speaking their fictional vision of it and hoping that enough people will bite and make it so. Yes, it is true that today sub-compact and compact economy vehicles represent a far larger percentage of cars on the American road than they did in 1970, but is every car an Accord, Camry, or Corrola? No.

    In this same way, in the year 2050, EVs, hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell, and natural gas vehicles will account for a huge percentage of vehicles on the road--much, much more than today, perhaps even more than half. But internal combustion vehicles will still be around for all the reasons listed above. Don't be fooled by the futurist, utopian, doomsday EV narrative. It's just that--a narrative they hope to artificially create if they can fool enough fatalist types. Don't be a fatalist.

      9 months ago
    • BEVs will be cheaper to make by 2023.

      By 2030, BEVs will have >95% of the BEV market.

      By 2040, only hobbyists will still have ICEVs.

      Read more
        9 months ago
    • I respect your view and we'll see who was more accurate in about 10 years! If your prediction is correct I will buy you a steak dinner, lol.

        9 months ago
  • I do love a good paddle shift, even if stick shifts are pretty good

      8 months ago
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