Can electric cars have manual transmissions?
Hmmm, what if...?
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.
And 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.
However, 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.
Likewise, 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.
But hang on, what if you put a manual into an EV?
Now 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.
However, 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.
Having 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?