What makes an electric car special?
Well, almost everything. Electric vehicles in the USA have come a long way and now have a leg up over traditional gas-powered vehicles in different areas, from their battery-powered green technology to their unparalleled automatic transmission.
Moreover, since all electric cars come with an automatic transmission, the driving experience they provide is much better and far less complicated than conventional gasoline-powered vehicles that come with a manual transmission.
Why Are All Electric Cars Automatic Only?
Although most people are usually skeptical about shifting to battery-powered vehicles, they are generally won over as soon as they give electric automobiles a try.
A huge advantage that has skyrocketed the global popularity of electric cars is their automatic transmission.
While a lot of gasoline-powered cars on the road are mainly manual (although this trend is shifting in favor of automatic vehicles), all electric cars are designed to be fully automatic.
Not only does this quality make an electric car much easier to drive for drivers of all ages, but it also helps make the overall drive much smoother, relaxing, and hence worth every dollar spent.
So why is this the case? Why can’t an electric car have a manual transmission?
Continue reading to learn about why an electric car can only ever have an automatic transmission, while a combustion engine vehicle has the freedom to switch between being an automatic or manual drive car.
Moreover, this article also sheds light on how an electric automobile’s single-gear system works and why gasoline-powered manual vehicles need at least three or more gears to operate.
Finally, the article will highlight some benefits of an electric car’s strictly automatic transmission and why it is high time you switch to driving an electric automobile.
Let’s get started!
Why Are Electric Cars Restricted to Automatic Transmissions?
An electric car may share the same basic blueprint as a conventional combustion engine vehicle; however, the entire mechanism that powers an electric car and makes it mobile is completely different than that of a combustion engine vehicle.
To understand why an electric car can only have an automatic transmission, let’s look at how a combustion engine vehicle works to draw a clear comparison between the two.
How Does the Manual Transmission of a Combustion Engine Vehicle Work?
All traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, regardless of whether they have a built-in manual or automatic transmission, come with a motor and a combustion engine.
Whenever the driver starts their car, the gas enters the combustion chamber. This fuel is combined with the external air and ignited by a spark, which allows the combustion reaction to take place.
This combustion reaction releases different combustion gasses along with loads of energy that help push the engine’s built-in pistons.
The movement of the piston rotates the car’s crankshaft. Once the driver of the car moves the appropriate gears, the engine’s powertrain starts putting the vehicle’s tires into motion.
The more the person accelerates, the more fuel enters the engine, which then combusts to provide power to the drivetrain. As a result, this will allow the vehicle to gain momentum and pick up speed.
However, none of what has been explained above takes place in an electric car.
Hence, since the combustion engine’s complete mechanism is not completely independent and requires the appropriate movement of certain gears to get into drive or reverse mode, a gearbox is necessary for traditional gasoline-powered vehicles.
Regardless of whether a gasoline-powered vehicle is designed to have an automatic transmission or a manual one, its engine’s basic mechanisms will always work the same way, and it will always come with a gearbox.
The only difference is that a manual combustion engine car usually comes with three to five gears, excluding the reverse gear (seven gears in faster cars) that need to be locked into place.
Every time the car has to accelerate or slow down, the driver needs to press the clutch and shift the gear to match their speed.
On the other hand, an automatic car usually comes with two to three gears, such as D1, D2, R, etc. This makes it a lot less complicated to drive an automatic.
As the car picks up or loses speed, the driver is not required to change gears; simply pressing or taking their foot off the accelerator will be enough.
Moreover, the gears are mainly there to determine the car’s top speed and put the car in reverse if necessary. The driver doesn’t need to focus on the gear system if they’re just looking to move forward.
Furthermore, in an automatic gasoline-powered vehicle, no clutch is present as the automatic system can switch the gears without requiring the clutch.
While all these systems are found in all combustion engine vehicles, the system of an electric car is extremely different.
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How Does an Electric Car’s Electric Engine Work?
Unlike in a traditional gasoline-powered vehicle that is fully run and dependent on a combustion reaction to move the engine’s pistons, no such reaction takes place in an electric car’s engine.
Instead, an electric car needs no gas at all as it is a battery-powered vehicle. The electric automobile’s mobility, range, and speed are completely dependent on its built-in lithium-ion battery and electric motor.
Most electric cars only share 10% of the moving parts with a combustion engine vehicle. The remaining 90% of the electric engine’s components include a battery, a motor, a built-in-inverter, and a single-speed transmission.
Every time the electric car is plugged into a power source, its battery begins to convert the inflow of electrons to chemical energy for storage.
Once the maximum charging capacity is reached, no more electrons can flow into the car’s battery, and the charging is automatically stopped.
When the driver turns on their electric car, they must press the accelerator to trigger the motor to turn on automatically.
As the motor turns on, it begins to discharge the lithium-ion battery of its stored chemical energy in order to convert it into kinetic energy that’s responsible for making the car move.
The built-in energy transmitter carries this newly converted kinetic energy to the vehicle’s tires, causing them to turn, which is how the car begins to pick up speed.
The more the driver accelerates, the more electric charge the car uses, and thus, the motor is able to deliver more power to the drivetrain.
That’s about it for how an electric car’s motor works to deliver power to the tires. Now, what about the gear system in an electric car (or lack thereof)? How does that work? Let’s find out.
How Does an Electric Car’s Automatic Single Gear System Work?
Now that you know that both automatic as well as manual combustion engine vehicles come with a multi-geared system while an electric car’s automated system only has a single gear, it is important to understand how these gears actually work.
Why Does Your Combustion Engine Car Need At Least Three Gears?
As explained above, a combustion engine vehicle cannot function without multiple gears; it doesn’t matter if the vehicle is manual or automatic.
This is because a gasoline-powered vehicle depends on adequate amounts of power distribution to keep going.
When a driver shifts the gear of their gasoline-powered vehicle, the engine can generate different amounts of kinetic energy at different rotations per minute (RPM).
As a result, by switching to the appropriate gear, the driver is able to distribute the generated power adequately and accelerate their vehicle at an energy-efficient speed.
As the vehicle continues to accelerate, shifting to a higher gear allows more energy to be generated and transmitted to the car’s wheels. Hence, the car is able to pick up speed.
Eventually, when the vehicle has been moved up to the highest gear, the power generated is used with maximum efficiency. This means that less gas is used to power the car, which is why most people advise drivers to drive at higher gears wherever possible.
Moreover, gasoline-powered vehicles have a complex gear system because the cars will only be able to operate as intended when the RPM is between 2000 to 4000.
When the gears are switched up or down, the average ratio of wheel revolutions to the engine’s revolution also changes. As a result, the energy generated is distributed more efficiently.
What Does the Automated Electric Car Need Only One Gear?
An electric car will always be automatic and will only ever have a single gear as it does not rely on the gear system of a traditional combustion engine.
Unlike gasoline-powered vehicles, electric cars do not need a mechanized system that will allow the tires to disconnect to reduce the car’s speed and bring it to a stop.
Instead, since an electric car is battery-powered, all the driver has to do is take their foot off the gas to prevent the motor from generating any more kinetic energy.
As a result, the battery stops providing power to the motor, which means that the car will begin to decelerate. In the event of a sudden stop, that’s where the brakes come in, but they’re a different mechanism altogether.
Moreover, unlike gasoline-powered vehicles in the USA that require the gears to be shifted for adequate power distribution, the automated system of an electric car does not need any gears.
Instead, the electric car can accelerate or slow down by simply pressing the accelerator or the brake.
Furthermore, since combustion engine vehicles are built on older and more traditional technology, the entire system has many limitations.
For instance, driving in reverse is impossible if the car has not been put into reverse. This is because the gear that causes the wheels to move backward is not the same as those that move the car forward.
On the contrary, you can reverse an electric car in the same gear that allows the vehicle to move forward.
Every time the driver has to reverse their electric car, the motor will simply begin to run in the opposite direction, causing the wheels to rotate backward.
Hence, since electric cars do not need a manual and gradual power build-up to accelerate, an EV will always come with an automated single-geared transmission that will allow for an instant boost of power.
What Are the Benefits of Driving an Automatic Electric Car?
Due to its modern mechanisms and superior automation, it is hard to draw a parallel between a modern-day electric car and a traditional gasoline-powered vehicle.
Moreover, some of the benefits that come from driving an automatic electric car are as follows:
- In general, the drivability of an electric car is significantly better than traditional combustion engine vehicles.
- Previously, people had to spend a lot of time learning how to shift the gears of a manual car. This involved getting a feel for the clutch and remembering the right time to shift gears.
- Since the entire system is complicated, this usually leads to more mistakes. While a bad shift here and there isn’t too problematic, in the long run, it can lead to issues with the gearbox.
- On the contrary, since an electric car only has a single gear, learning how to drive the car is usually much easier, and the chance of making a mistake is minimized.
- Even if people have driven multi-geared combustion engine cars their entire lives, old age or a medical condition can affect their reflexes.
- As a result, they cannot shift between different gears on time. Not only does this affect their own and everyone else’s safety, but it also takes away their independence when they are no longer allowed to drive.
- Instead, since driving an automated electric car is much easier, this makes it easier for people of all ages to drive them. This isn’t even taking into account the features that most electric vehicles in the USA have that make driving them a breeze
- Since a traditional car’s gears have to be shifted manually, not shifting them at the right time means that you waste gas, lowering the overall mileage of the car.
- On the contrary, an electric car uses its stored battery charge wisely, which means that you’ll probably get more range out of an electric car than you would a traditional gas-powered car in the US.
Not only are electric cars able to reduce the dependency on fossil fuel by being battery-powered, but they can also make driving far less complicated.
The main reason for this is that an electric car lacks a combustion engine and instead comes with a fully automated motorized system that maximizes energy efficiency without requiring a multi-geared system.
Hence, if you want to enjoy a fully automated vehicle that is easier to drive and control, you need to shift to an electric vehicle.
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My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.