Why Do Electric Cars Only Have 1 Gear?

Why Do Electric Cars Only Have 1 Gear?

Why don’t electric cars have multiple-gear transmissions?
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Why do electric cars only have 1 gear? This is the first of a five part series sponsored by Formula E, who I’ve partnered with to talk about the engineering behind electric cars. I had the opportunity to get behind the scenes at the New York City E-Prix, and was able to chat with team principals, hang out in the engineering rooms during qualifying, and even learn from this year’s champion, Lucas di Grassi.

So why do electric cars use just a single gear, rather than using traditional transmissions like you’d find paired with internal combustion engines? Electric motors can get away without numerous gears because they are high revving, remain fairly efficient across a very broad rev range, and produce a great amount of torque at low RPM.

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Tesla Model 3 and 10 New Electric Cars to Be Excited About

We have all witnessed a triumphant roll out of the first Tesla Model 3 from the conveyor and the start of its production on July 7, 2017, two weeks ahead of schedule. However, while all of the car fans were fixated on this most important event in the history of Tesla, many had missed the latest developments on the car market that exposed its vulnerability.

In the first week of July Tesla’s stocks dropped nearly 13% in value, which equaled to 8 billion loss of the company’s market capitalization and the loss of the number one spot as the most valuable car maker in the US. This stock crisis was a result of Tesla Model S inability to receive the highest safety rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, lower-than-expected deliveries and rising competition on the electric car market.

Even though Wall Street storms come and go, but it makes us think that betting the future of electric cars on one single company is too risky, and if we paraphrased the popular saying: It takes a village, not a Tesla to revolutionize the auto industry and make electric vehicles a day to day transport for every human on earth.

That is why we would like to review not only Tesla’s latest achievements in the field of green electric cars, but include other auto makers who invest heavily in the electric future of automobiles.

All EV manufacturers that were featured in this video:

TESLA Model 3: www.tesla.com/model3

Lucid Air: lucidmotors.com/car

NIO EP9: nio.io/ep9

Aston Martin RapidE: www.astonmartin.com/en/live/news/2017/06/26/aston-martin-confirms-production-of-first-all-electric-model

Fisker E-motion: www.fiskerinc.com

Nissan Leaf 2.0: nissannews.com/en-US/nissan/usa/releases/nissan-propilot-assist-technology-reduces-the-hassle-of-stop-and-go-highway-driving-ready-for-u-s-launch

Renault Zoe and Zoe Sport: media.renault.com/global/en-gb/renault/Media/PressKit.aspx?mediaid=87882

E-go Life: e-go-mobile.com/de/modelle/e.go-life/

Volkswagen ID family: volkswagen.co.uk/about-us/concept-cars/volkswagen-id

Mercedes Benz electric line-up: www.mercedes-benz.com/en/mercedes-benz/next/e-mobility/concept-eq-mobility-revisited/

2018 Jaguar i-Pace: www.jaguarusa.com/all-models/i-pace-concept-car/index.html

BMW i3 Sport and i8 Roadster: www.press.bmwgroup.com/global/article/detail/T0272236EN/the-bmw-i8-roadster-is-coming:-time-for-a-first-look?language=en

AUDI e-Tron Quattro and e-Tron Sportback: www.audi-mediacenter.com/en/press-releases/the-architecture-of-e-mobility-audi-e-tron-sportback-concept-7637

Volvo’s new electric line-up: www.media.volvocars.com/global/en-gb/media/pressreleases/210058/volvo-cars-to-go-all-electric

40 thoughts on “Why Do Electric Cars Only Have 1 Gear?”

  1. you can trust the huge money coorporation of formula 1 to use up all the lithium, wasting immense energy and resources just to go round and round their shitty tracks, in turn drivng up the prices of lithium batteries for the rest of us.

  2. Great video, Why do electric cars still need a transmission, could it not be possible to place the electric motor to the time and control from there. I am sure there is a reason and would love to hear the engineering behind it

  3. For an electric road car that needs to maximize range, could a multi-speed gearbox be used to keep the motor at peak efficiency, overcoming the increased inefficiency of the gearbox and thereby extending range? Or maybe a more efficient motor design could be selected. I seem to remember one of the early (modern) electric motorcycles did this.

  4. So overall, would there be any benefits to have a CVT in an electric car? I ask because if you're going to have any gears at all, why not have it be the most efficient type?

  5. 1 missing factor in using gears in an electric car is ,a smaller less powerful motor can be used to achieve the same thing as a large motor with a single gear to achieve acceleration rates & top speed. BUT the power loss & extra weight of a gearbox can easily be offset by using the larger motor ,so there not used . An electric motor cannot stall at slow speeds like a combustion engine can at 1rpm

  6. Can't you change the frequency fed into an induction motor to get some of the advantage of gears using solid state electronics?

  7. Great video. I’d like to suggest doing a video on tires and proper rotation and tread wear guidelines. For example, I’m having a disagreement with coworkers on replacing 2 or 4 tires at a time on their front wheel drive vehicle. I maintain that if you are only replacing 2 tires you need to make sure those new tires go to the rear of a front wheel drive car to prevent over steering. They think new tires or best tread tires should be in the front because it’s the drive tires on front wheel drive. I try to explain that regardless of front wheel, rear wheel, or all wheel if you have miss matched tread depth tires the best 2 should be on the rear to prevent oversteer where the rear end lets loose which is harder to control than under steer. Anyone with an opinion please chime in? Thanks!

  8. Depends on the rules and if the 170kW is electrical pack discharge / measured at the controller, the motor, or the wheels. If it's measured at the wheels then you would be crazy not to have a gearbox. If it's limited at the controller, be a tough call, and may be circuit dependant.

  9. If the electric motor can stay at max HP till the car reaches it's Vmax, that particular torque vs rpm curve gives the maximum power (and therefore the maximum acceleration at a given speed) – so there is no need for gears if your motor is powerful enough and can maintain max HP – that itself guarantees the absolute maximum acceleration you can ever get. But the fact that the motor has to spin upwards of 20k rpm means the low end torque of an electric motor will be immense — only then we can generate that torque curve. And since electric motors need not spin at idle, there's no lugging, so no need for even a first gear.

    Sometimes if a motor can't generate that much low end torque, or if it can't spin to such a high rpm, only then does it need a second gear (and almost always never more than that).

  10. I wonder how the power and efficiency changes or degrades over the life of the car with an electric motor compared to a gas engine. I know my ten yr old car had 250hp when new and got 17/27mpg. Now I’m sure it’s not even close to 200hp and only gets 13/21mpg as the moving components in the engine have worn out. How does an EV compare in this regard?

  11. This video should be five seconds long.
    "Why do electric cars have only one gear?"
    "They don't have any gears. There's forwards and backwards, that's it."

  12. Good video, one suggestion for you is to explore how could more gears coupled with smaller electric motor could help to mitigate the range issue on electric cars.

  13. Well ford started (cars) (assembly line)basically and today they're still the best selling brand. It doesn't take a village just a oligarchy. Today only 3 car companies manage to survive ( Chrysler relied on government to bail them out). Gm is gm. All the mini car brands you hear of are subsidiaries of these 3.

  14. You lost me at Volvo. They will phase out the "only ICE" cars, meaning they will add plug in to a ice car. Do not get confused.
    Yhanks for the vid!

  15. I just realised that this is an EU advert. It's bashes Tesla and doesn't mention any none EU manufacturers. It goes on about new cars that aren't even available yet, comparing incomplete cars with old models and still comes up short on specification, and when it comes to prices… We'll make your own mind up. Also where is the battery technology coming from? I bet it's Tesla's. Not one of these cars match on specs and most aren't even available yet, by which time Tesla may well have a third or fourth generation out.

    It's full of misinformation and totally bias. The Mercedes advert for a truck, bus etc follows Tesla's statement their already in development and the quote about the first 4WD EV is hardly true…

    In 1893, before the establishment of a modern automotive industry in Britain, English engineer Bramah Joseph Diplock patented a four-wheel-drive system for a traction engine, including four-wheel steering and three differentials, which was subsequently built. The development also incorporated Bramah's Pedrail wheel system in what was one of the first four-wheel-drive automobiles to display an intentional ability to travel on challenging road surfaces. It stemmed from Bramagh's previous idea of developing an engine that would reduce the amount of damage to public roads.

    Ferdinand Porsche designed and built a four-wheel-driven electric vehiclefor the k. u. k. Hofwagenfabrik Ludwig Lohner & Co. at Vienna in 1899, presented to the public during the 1900 World Exhibition at Paris. An electric hub motor at each wheel powered the vehicle. It was clumsily and heavy and to its unusual status the so-called Lohner-Porsche is not widely credited as the first four-wheel-driven automobile.


  16. They did change the world for those pour kids working in toxic mines for the minerals that this cars need. The car is nice and affordable. I can buy one but im not cux i had a rough life but this kids have it worse. Im usually dont give a fuck but this time im SAD AND DISAPPOINTED.


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