Do Electric Vehicles Have Transmissions?

March 13th, 2023 by

Most electric vehicles only require a single-speed transmission, which results in better efficiency and smoother acceleration. However, some EV models use a two-speed transmission instead.

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Understanding Electric Vehicle Transmissions

Jaguar I Pace luxury electric vehicleThe practice of driving an electric car is virtually no different than driving a traditional gas-engine car. However, the internal mechanisms that power each type of vehicle are drastically different in many ways. Electric vehicles tend to be mechanically simpler than gas-engine cars due to having a powertrain that incorporates fewer steps and therefore fewer moving parts. But this can lead to some misconceptions about what components are missing from EVs.

For instance, many drivers are unsure whether or not electric vehicles have transmissions. EVs do have transmissions, but they are a bit different than what drivers may be used to.

What is a Transmission?

In a traditional gas-engine car, the transmission is, essentially, a series of gears responsible for transferring energy from the engine to the wheels. Most combustion engine models require several gears to maintain enough rotations per minute (RPM) to maintain driving speeds.

The transmission, and its rotating gears, are the reason why gas-engine cars have a slower ramp-up when accelerating. As the car speeds up, it needs to shift gears. This takes a moment, which can cause a bit of lag for drivers when they try to speed up. But EVs handle acceleration differently due to their unique transmissions.

What Kind of Transmissions do Electric Vehicles Use?

You may be thinking that EVs don’t require transmissions because they don’t use internal combustion engines. But the truth is, electric vehicles still use, and need, transmissions. This is because the electric motors powering EVs still require rotation to transfer power to the wheels of the car.

However, electric motors can operate much more efficiently, and at much higher peak speeds, than gas combustion engines. Most combustion engine transmissions max out between 1500 and 7000 RPM. Electric motors, on the other hand, can often reach up to 20,000 RPM. Because of this, most electric vehicles only require a single gear for their transmission. This is called a single-speed or one-speed transmission.

Are There Any Advantages of a Single-Speed Transmission?

Yes, there is one very notable advantage to having a single-speed transmission. As alluded to above, the multi-gear transmissions found in combustion engines affect the car’s acceleration. But the single-speed transmissions used in most EVs result in a much smoother acceleration. There is no need for EVs to shift gears as they pick up speed, so the process is much more seamless.

Single-gear transmissions are also mechanically simpler. This leads to lower maintenance costs and other headaches associated with engine problems.

Do All EVs Have the Same Transmission?

No, not every electric vehicle uses a single-speed transmission. But single-speed transmissions are the standard because they’re highly efficient and simple. They get the job done without any complications.

But some EVs use a two-speed, or two-gear, transmission. The Porsche Taycan, for example, is one of the most famous examples of a two-speed transmission luxury electric vehicle. The Taycan’s two-gear system allows it to maintain a longer driving range when traveling at fast speeds. This innovation is unique to the Taycan, which is designed to be a high-performance luxury electric sedan.

Electric Vehicle Maintenance

In answer to the original question, “Do electric vehicles have transmissions?”, the simple answer is, yes, they do. But EV transmissions, as you now know, are much simpler, and more efficient, than combustion engine transmissions. This does not mean that they don’t exist, of course.

This is just one way in which electric vehicle maintenance may differ from what most drivers are used to. While many of the components are different, a lot of EV maintenance processes are familiar. Things like tire pressure, brake fluids, and tire rotations should still be regular parts of your EV maintenance checklist.

At Ray Catena Auto Group, we have answers to your most pressing questions about LEVs – the future of luxury driving. Find a dealership location near you, contact us today, or learn more about which LEVs have the best handling.

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