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Do electric cars have gears?


As the world transitions from petrol and diesel cars to electric vehicles (EVs), many wonder about their driving mechanics, particularly if they have gears. For normal driving, electric cars generally don’t have multiple gears. Most EVs lack a traditional gearbox, meaning there’s no gear shifting; you simply select from Park, Neutral, Reverse, and Drive like an automatic car.

However, some EVs, such as the Porsche Taycan, Audi e-tron GT, and Lotus Eletre R, do have gears for rapid acceleration, but the gear changes are fully automated. The majority of electric cars use a single gear. This is because electric motors, unlike internal combustion engines, don’t need to build up revs to achieve maximum torque. They deliver maximum power instantly, similar to an on-off switch.

In contrast, petrol cars require lower gears to start moving and higher gears for sustained speeds. EVs can accelerate from a standstill to around 100 mph in the same gear. Thus contributing to a generally lower top speed compared to petrol cars. This single gear is optimized for normal driving conditions.

Some sporty EVs, like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N, simulate gear changes to mimic the driving sensation of fast petrol cars. This is by using software and speakers, but they don’t have actual gears to shift.

Plug-in hybrids, which combine electric motors with petrol or diesel engines, do have a conventional gearbox. Full hybrids, such as the Honda CR-V, may have a single-speed gearbox. This is  where only the electric motor drives the wheels during normal driving, with the engine primarily charging the battery.
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