Electric Cars Transmissions Explained: Do Electric Cars Have A Gearbox?

Yes, they have a transmission system but they don't have multiple gears.

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Do electric cars have transmission system_ gear box (1)
Image: Shutterstock

When it comes to electric cars, every day we learn something new about them. Today, our topic of interest will be something we haven’t discussed before. I am sure that at least once you might have wondered regarding the electric cars, ‘Do electric cars have transmissions?’ or ‘Do electric cars have gears?’

Anyway, if I have to give the shortest answer, then it would be a Yes and No. Yes, they have a transmission system, but they don’t have multiple gears. It’s not like a normal transmission system, and most electric cars have a single-speed transmission system.

Electric cars have a completely different powertrain than that of a conventional IC engine vehicle. Thus, it’s obvious that there might be several changes that you might not be aware of.

Let’s further explore our topic of interest.

Do Electric Cars Have Transmissions? If No, Then Why?

transmission system in electric vehicles
Image: Hyundai Motor Group

One of the strangest things you would find when driving an electric car for the first time is that there isn’t any gear stick next to you. There’s simply a knob or some other system for choosing the driving mode.

As mentioned earlier, electric cars don’t have multiple gear ratios and therefore the gearbox isn’t as complex as in conventional cars.

But why is it so? Unlike in IC engine vehicles, electric motors in EVs can produce a consistent amount of torque for a wide range of RPMs.

If you observe a conventional ICE car, then it has multiple gears with different gear ratios because it operates efficiently for a specific narrow range of RPM.

For example, during the first gear, you can quickly accelerate the car at lower RPMs because of the availability of higher torque. However, the car will struggle to get beyond 30 or 40 kph unless you shift the gear. Similarly, at a higher gear, like fifth or sixth gear, you won’t be able to accelerate it from a stationary position.

Generally, ICE cars perform efficiently between 3000 to 5500 RPM.

However, in the case of electric vehicles, they can operate well for a wide bandwidth of up to 20,000 RPM.

Electric cars don’t have a specific range in which they can deliver the best performance. This means they can churn out maximum torque from 0 RMP. Thus, there isn’t a need for different gear sets.

This also explains why electric cars accelerate so quickly. Tesla Model S can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 1.99 seconds which is almost impossible for any production ICE car.

For reference, Tesla uses a single-speed transmission system in its electric cars.

Benefits Of Single Speed Transmission System In Electric Vehicles?

Electric cars can also be equipped with multiple gear transmission systems. However, most automakers use single-speed transmission due to certain benefits.

The first is that there’s no need for different gear ratios in electric cars. Hence, using a bigger transmission system with several gears will simply increase complexity and weight. Also, a multi-gear transmission will increase the overall cost of the vehicle.

I hope you guys now have a brief overview of the transmission system of Electric Vehicles.

Shaheer Anwar

Shaheer Anwar

Shaheer Anwar is an automotive enthusiast and writes about the latest trends happening in the industry. He covers topics related to electric and hybrid vehicles.

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