Electric does not necessarily mean automatic and single speed! And yes, rare models keep a multi-speed manual transmission, and we explain why.
Naturally, you pair an electric motor with a single-speed automatic transmission. Finally unique, if we exclude reverse gear. Normal, an electric car cannot stall, unlike a heat engine. Its motor does not need a differential to adapt the rotation to that of the wheels, and has little inertia.
Useful in 4 × 4
But think again, is not systematic, already because it is technically possible to do so. It remains to find a reason, which does not exist because electric motors work very well up to 200 km / h with one speed.
The only cars with manual gearbox are therefore not those visible in the catalog or in a dealer. They are prototypes or unique vehicles, exhibited in trade fairs or special events. One of the most recent is the Jeep Magneto, foreshadowing the 100% electric Wrangler.
Unveiled in March 2021, it released a logical 6-speed manual gearbox, because the machine is a real 4 × 4. Like petrol cars with a short second gearbox, it can guarantee a smooth crossing, at the ideal speed according to the situation. This is especially useful with the torque of 370 Nm, available at the slightest sudden pedal stroke. It would therefore not be surprising to see this system in a production version.
The manual gearbox in electric racing?
Far from the rocks that the Jeep roams, electric sports cars sometimes opt for a manual gearbox. On the other hand, it is high speed torque demand that pushes to this type of transmission. Immediate and maximum at pedal pressure, it tends to run out of steam after a certain pace. For you Auto Plus readers, the Porsche Taycan comes to mind (or even the Rimacs), but their 2-speed gearbox is automatic.
The Ford Mustang Lithium, on display at the 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, had a Getrag 6-speed gearbox suitable for drag racing. The American brand did not give details, just claiming the need for get the most out of 1,355 Nm of torque at over 300 km / h.
In official competition, the only example was that of Formula E Renault of the season 2015-2016. The French team integrated a 2-speed manual gearbox, unlike rivals with an automatic pneumatic system. The engineers were hoping for starts and revivals when exiting sharper turns. In theory, that’s smart. However, in practice, the team abandoned the system, because of more friction and weight, and no one imitated it.
Switch reports the old fashioned way
Another car, another atmosphere, the Delta EVO-e, the famous rally car of the 1980s revisited in electric restomod sauce by GCK. On the Italian sports car, the manual gearbox has no performance interest. It exists to preserve the old-fashioned gear lever and to give « Driving sensations » according to its designers.
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