Could Electric Cars Have A Manual Transmission?

Could Electric Cars Have A Manual Transmission?


Will Future Electric Cars Use A Manual Transmission?
Electric Cars Only Have 1 Gear? –
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This is the second video of a five part series where I’ve partnered with Formula E to answer questions about electric vehicles, and this topic was actually inspired by Renault’s season 2 Formula E car, which uses a 2-speed gearbox matched with a single transversely mounted electric motor. What’s super clever about their set up, is that they have incorporated a manual gear stick, using cables and rods to switch between the two gears, rather than the pneumatic paddle shifters which other teams were using. Renaults solution is simpler, and also lighter, as it doesn’t require onboard pumps or air-tanks for gear shifts. But could this be taken a step further, and incorporate a clutch as well for street cars? I spent some time chatting with the current Formula E champion, Lucas Di Grassi, who spends his free time engineering electric bikes, about this idea.

We have two questions to answer:
1. Is it possible?
2. Is it logical?

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100 Comments on "Could Electric Cars Have A Manual Transmission?"


  1. So efficiency wise is there any advantage to having gears?? I mean electric car or truck say it has 2 gears or 10 whatever if the load at a given speed is constant but the rpms of electric mtr changed dose it use more or less electricity? Say 80mph in 1st gear the electric mtr is turning 2000rpm but in 2nd it turns 1000rpms??

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  2. …and yet, places like EVWest use manual gearboxes, especially for the convenience of the reverse gear needed for commercial cars (as opposed to racing); they use 2 speed and reverse gearboxes. I suppose that it depends on context.

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  3. AFAIK, electric motor torque is at it's highest at lower RPM (could a "steeper" gear ratio utilize this torque more efficiently/effectively… possible increasing range?) 2.91 rear end vs. 4.11

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  4. What I do not understand, efficiency on the side, if the gear is shorter, is electric car accelerating faster? Let's say electric car has one gear which has maximum speed of 250kmh at 20K rpm, if it had 2 gears, one with max speed of 100kmh and other same as current 250kmh, wouldn't it accelerate faster till 100km/h?

    I know it has max power all the time, but if gear is shorter, will it benefit acceleration?

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  5. I think gears would make sense for no reason other than energy regeneration-assuming the motor can output the power and the batteries could take it.

    Basically go to a shorter ratio while braking and pulling more tq

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  6. so the whole point of getting in a gearbox is simply cuz the Engine does not have the pulling power required to move the engine right? so wouldn't it make sense a gearbox been used to leverage a low-powered Electric motor? by doing this can we achieve more mileage? with less power consumption?

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  7. One thing not considered is the dual motor setup used for 4WD in EV's
    You would either have to ditch that in favour of a more traditional setup with one motor, or have the issue of synchronising 2 motors and 2 gearboxes.

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  8. Having lower gears to multiply the motor torque would mean a less powerful motor can be used and still get up to a decent top speed, to power a single speed ev you need a motor capable of very high torque to move the vehicle from a standstill at usually a 1-1 ratio

    Many converted ev have the clutch converted to solid coupling which makes pulling away clunky and jerky, they usually have to stop then select a gear before pulling away in the new gear, or changing gear by matching rpm like an old school dog box.

    To keep the clutch and maintain a regular car feel you would need some kind of idle mode on the motor for "normal" smoothness whilst changing gears, even changing gear when the engine is off (0 rpm )but the vehicle is rolling is not smooth.

    When you are stopped the motor could shut off completely just like on a stop/start capable i.c.e. car but whilst driving the motor could hold a 1000 rpm idle whilst shifting just like an engine to smooth out the transition.

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  9. In UK most drivers have a manual licence, allowing them to drive manual or automatic. It tends to only be a small minority who go for the automatic only licence, due to having difficulties learning manual. In fact many auto instructors don't even consider students who have not first tried to learn in a manual car. For this reason, I (A driving instructor myself) cant envisage a time when I will ever own an electric vehicle. Ill be honest, Id love one! I really do feel it is the way forward. But like many others here I love my manual gearbox and dont want to give it up, plus I don't want to be stuck with only having those percentage of learners who cant figure out how to drive manual (ie the really difficult stressful students. I like a challenge, but only interspersed into a good range of abilities). Then there is the cost. new drivers tend to go for a banger for their first car as mistakes happen. Automatic 2nd hand cars are rare, and therefore electric second hand rarer still, which means their prices tend to be out of reach of many new drivers who tend not to buy a brand new car as their first vehicle. What would be the point in me teaching in an automatic EV. I see a few instructors chat about this, and about how range is getting better, but that they still tend to stop off half way through a day for a recharge, making the work day so much longer. I feel sad that I cannot move with the times and go down the EV route, but as yet with range, and the lack of a manual gearbox (and clutch actually stalling the car) I dont feel the industry is ready for instructors.

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  10. Thanks for your way in explain …:) is it possible that making a manual transmission to earn charging car with car moving without clutch engagement while car moves with self push..hope to find answer from you … and really i enjoy washing .

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  11. Hi Jason,
    I am Joy from India and
    1st of all I would like to tell you that I really love the way you explain and have learned lot of things from you regarding automobile vehicles. Today I would really like to know something from you as I know for sure that it is you, who can clear my doubts on this matter.
    The thing that I would really like to know is that, is it possible to make an autonomous electric vehicle that does not requires charging (after the 1st full charge). Will sufficient current be generated if a liquid cooled electric motor in a vehicle stalls continuously like an internal combustion engine and is connected or detached from the driven shaft by a transmission?….
    Joy

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  12. I still have yet to find a single transmission more efficient than a manual. The EPA agrees, since the manual TDI is rated 2 MPG higher than the automatic. I'm not rich enough to afford two identical cars for testing both transmission options, but that's what collective data is for between owners. I'm not the only one trying to see how many MPG I can get.

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  13. I beg to differ on your manual trans opinion.
    Do deny that manuals are lighter, cheaper, less complicated, & last longer without rebuilding than automatics over time?

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  14. I think in the future, I think that the manual transmission will become what the mechanical keyboard is to PC enthusiasts, yes it's outdated but you cannot replace it's feel

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  15. I will play all the legendary exhaust sound from each iconic car (GT-R's V6, LFA's V10 etc) at ICE funeral………

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  16. The question I am interested in is there any efficiency gains possible with a two speed transmission with one gear for city driving, and one for the highway?

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  17. Every VW air cooled EV conversion has a manual with clutch. Electric motor bolts in where gas engine was. clutch not needed to shift.

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  18. Isn't it ironic, that people who really enjoy to drive want a manual transmission, but even they want it to shift as quickly as possible. So the next step is a automatic transmission, e.g. dual clutch transmissions, they're quickly, but even they're not as fast as a one gear transmission, because the last one doesn't have to shift. No shift, no time loss. It's just like the old story of the development of the wheel: by adding more and more edges, the final perfect solution is: no edges. But yes, even I am sad about this "non gear future".

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  19. Tesla model S transaxle weighs almost the same as a Vauxhall Insignia gearbox so I am not quite sure what you mean by added weight? 🤔

    A gearbox will reduce the amperage and increase the regeneration braking at low speeds. This is why Toyota stick to the cvt on their prius plug-ins because in that way, a small electric motor is used cutting down on energy usage.

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  20. There is a like $400,000-$700,000 corvette that you take it to some modifying company and they make it electric and manual

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  21. Well toyota is investing more into hydrogen powered cars, maybe electric and hydrogen can co-exist and that's where we can have our fun by them being made manuel since they would need a transmission

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  22. It is 100% possible to have a manual gearbox in an electric vehicle, would it be necessary the answer to that is no. My guess is IF electric cars are the future, its something the driving enthusiasts will do for a bit of fun. I would do it to my car simply for the joy of driving. Currently no electric grid can support it if everyone drove electric cars, we still have a lot of developments that need before we go 100% electric.

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  23. In 1/10 rc car world, you only need to have one gear ratio, so forget about enthusiast real car because people will forget about shifting gear instead of press your paddle and go. Just look up 1/12 pan car and you will see you only need one gear, they 're really fast.

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  24. Hello, I have two questions.
    With a manual transmission you can use a "smaller" engine for the same car?

    Can a manual transmission improve the range of the battery?

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  25. With the high amount of torque – if you were to have higher gears, you could reach Insane Speeds ..

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  26. 5:12 So very true. I could very possibly see myself doing a retrofit mod on my current car, or a new purchased project car, either way – I very much want to retrofit an EV motor into a standard standard transmission vehicle.

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  27. Can someone who is smart enough to convert a ice car to electric help me out with my build ?! I want to electrify my Z32 300zx BUT I want to KEEP my manual transmission ohh yeah and I want to keep AC it's hot here in Vegas ! Thanks

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  28. @EngineeringExplained I agree with you on most things but to say that 'manual transmissions are illogical' today is incorrect. They are still without argument more reliable than automatics. I buy only manual cars, if nothing else, because of the reliability factor

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  29. Can electric cars have a whip, and something that uses coconut halves clapping, so I can pretend there's a horse on the front?

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  30. If you wanted more top speed out of an electric car a multiple speed gearbox could make sense. But you probably wouldn't need more than 3 or 4 speeds.

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  31. Electric car company dont want transmission because
    1 they want you , always plug on Electric outlet ….
    2 they don't want ( electric car company) their car make extra miles..

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  32. Pretty sure this could all just be programmed into the car. Install a "pretend" clutch and a "pretend" stick, and just program a friction zone and different power ratios into the ECU.

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  33. i watched a vid a while back where a guy converted a car to electric and kept the 5 speed. he said he shifts when he wants to have fun, but when just driving around he puts it in 3rd and leaves it there.

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  34. Wheeler Dealers did this with a Maserati Bi-Turbo and Edd mentioned that the car didn't need the clutch to shift gears since electric motors don't stall so you could probably do a direct drive with the gearbox.

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  35. I drove an electric vehicle with a manual transmission before this video was posted. It was a cheap multi-passenger "tour bus golf cart" thing, up to 25 MPH with 4 or 5 gears (don't recall which). Using gears 1-2 really helped with acceleration when fully loaded. Had to get to top gear for full speed. Not sure what type of electric motor is used in these machines.

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  36. This is why I say that slow people cannot make fast cars. Bro you're dead wrong about a lot if this stuff. I'm not trying to be insulting just hear me out. Transmissions were designed to work for combustion engines. If they were designed to work for electric motors, they would be a lot more effective, and there are some but they're not for cars. Servos are geared; It's that simple. A lot of machines that have electric motors and gearboxes literally have transmissions. It all depends on what you design it for, and there most certainly is a demand for trannys in EVs. All EV motors are the same, They are very weak in comparison to combustion engines which transmission are made for but nonetheless transmissions will always do one thing. They improve the strength of a motor. Electric motors don't have good torque at higher rpms. Some more than others but it's still low torque at higher rpms. Shifting is necessary if you want to improve the performance of an electric motor. The model S is killing cars in 0 to 60 and quarter mile runs but that's only 60mph. Past 120 mph, it's a normal car all over again. A transmission specifically designed for an electric motor might not even look like combustion engine transmissions, but why should it? That makes no sense. The only reason we haven't seen it done in the past is because we didn't have the means, or simply didn't want to bother with innovating a specialized transmission for an ev. And Tesla also confuses people because they make you think a quick 0 to 60 and 120 on a 1 speed gearbox is faster than you'll ever need to go for the most part but, it just isn't truly powerful all the way through, nor does it make for a good daily driver that you can still take to the track. To think that 60 and 120 mph is so easy without a transmission, and that formula e cars actually have 2 speeds, is only an invitation for electric cars to use transmissions to get the rest of whatever performance benefits over combustion there are out of them. Transmissions are very much needed in electric cars to make them complete.

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  37. only "benefit " i could speculate is for regen braking….. need to see some regen curves…

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  38. I remember how much I dreaded learning to drive stick. Now, I couldn't imagine happily owning a vehicle that isn't a manual.

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  39. Obviously it's better to go electric to take care of the planet and all that.. so I think that in the future most people will be driving automatic electric cars since most people drive automatics already, and there will still be manual cars but mostly like… sport cars. I do have a question though, do we need to get rid of all gas/diesel fueled cars to maintain and care for our planet or we just have to get the use of fossil fuels and all that really Low ..?

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  40. Review the corvette gxe!!!!!! Integrated engineering plz!!!!! Because they put a manual transmission in a electric transmission

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  41. Actually manual gearbox isn't about "joy", but it's about efficiency and full control. Automatic gearboxes, even DSG, still have some lag and relatively poor control for downshifting etc… and in real life driver who knows what he is doing with manual gearbox will be better off anytime. In snowy conditions automatic gearbox could be even dangerous, not to say that you can't tow another car without damaging the gearbox, you can't get towed neither… Electric cars is a completely different thing. But electric cars aren't there yet, and it as of today there is no even talking about battery solution. So, internal combustion engine with manual gearbox is unbeaten, and the more experienced driver you are, the more benefits you can get from manual gearbox.

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  42. It will be fun to drive but the car would be heavier therefore there’s a trade off which is efficiency. A manual transmission gearbox can weigh up to 200 lbs.

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  43. Unless you're somehow into foundling a stick (not kink-shaming, to each their own). There's basically no performance reason for electric motors to have manual shifting.

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  44. If you have the rpm of the next gear on a tachomoter with the motor rpm, you could manually shift just like the computer would. In addition to allowing faster acceleration at high speeds, you could get more torque for towing or rock climbing.

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  45. Logical, No, infinitely more entertaining than the one speed drone of an over weight green narrative eco car, yes.

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  46. A lot of things exist in vehicles just as a novelty and/or for joy (styling and stereos, for the most obvious examples). Why not stick shifts?

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  47. AS a guy who explains this for a News Channel; pretty good. But for us engineers he looks as a smart mouth

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  48. People are converting regular cars into electric. Doing it to a manual transmission donor car could be interesting. Would be able to select a gear ratio to run, vs traditionally shifting. Select gear 5-6 for eco driving, 3-4 for more spirited driving.

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  49. Efficiency loss through a manual transmission is minimal. I would assume it would be even better on the 2 speed Renault manual since there are less gears in mesh.

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  50. Setting aside the "joy" of driving with a manual transmission….a manual transmission in an electric vehicle would not be a complete waste. Electric motors still have a "horsepower" rating…just like gasoline engines. Having "low" gears is still going to multiply the torque of the electric motor. How would that not be beneficial in high-load applications such as towing. Also, comparing light weight carbon fiber race cars to street vehicles does not seem like a realistic comparison. Id be curious to see if having a higher gear would decrease energy consumption in an existing car (a normal car, not a race car) that has been converted to electric while utilizing it's own manual transmission. And then compare it to the same make and model car with the same electric motor and batteries but with single speed / direct drive.

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  51. Have seen manual s10 with electric motor mounted where the engine used to be. All other components were factory. It was cool.

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  52. Well don’t transmissions allow for better power curves? The motor can stay close low down to the maximum torque level while the wheels are rotating faster than the motor could normally. I suppose that’s not really needed for street cars.

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  53. I wonder if a transmission could be imitated.
    As in, you have the gear stick and clutch, but they aren't connected to any transmission. Rather, they're connected to the cars computer and what 'gear' you're in is used by the computer to control the electric motor.

    It wouldn't be the same, but I bet you could get pretty close. Plus, if you didn't want it, you could just turn it off.

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  54. So, no new information in this video…. how about a motor that runs very efficient at a constant speed lets say with a lot of moving mass to use the kinetic energy for lots of torque… for this kind of setup gears make sense again…

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  55. Lots of logical reasons. Manual transmissions are cheaper, last longer and don't break down. Sent my 14 year old Saturn L to the junkyard with over 350,000 km on it. Still ran fine, never hadva powertrain issue. Changed the clutch oncevaround 250 k, cost about $750. Cars with automatics die young all the time, unreliable, too expensive to repair and also no fun.

    Reply

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