Does an Electric Car have a Transmission (GearBox)?

Folks who grew up finding pleasure in the gear shift are the most likely to ask, ‘does an electric car have a transmission?’

Electric vehicles (EVs) are increasingly becoming common on roads, and specific aspects of these vehicles are sure to come up. So, do EVs have a transmission or not? 

We explore this question deeply.

What a Transmission is

The transmission is mostly related to gas-powered vehicles and involves gears and other mechanical parts. These help shift the car between different speeds and torque.  

The transmission’s primary function is to transfer power from the engine to the wheels. It’s the work of the gears to provide adequate power distribution through different gear shifts. The low gears have the highest torque output, which is necessary to move the vehicle from a standstill. 

As the vehicle gains momentum, the torque demand gradually decreases. For this reason, auto manufacturers carefully calculate the gear ratios based on the engine output to optimize efficient power at every gear. 

So, does an electric car have a transmission? 

While electric vehicles have a transmission, it has a different structure to mechanical transmission in internal combustion engines. EVs have a powerful electric motor capable of providing the high torque output required to move the vehicle, eliminating the need for a gearbox. With an electric motor, revving or the process of building up torque is unnecessary. 

The Single-Speed Transmission

Unlike the mechanical gears that play a direct role in the power and speed of the vehicle, the single-speed transmission in EVs is a simple mechanism that allows the motor to drive the wheels directly. Therefore, the role of the single-speed transmission is relatively passive. This is because it is not directly involved in transferring the power to the wheels. 

With a much-reduced role and less complication, the single-speed transmission is more efficient and straightforward than mechanical transmission in gasoline-powered vehicles. It helps reduce the electric car’s weight and complexity for a more efficient and streamlined design. 

As you ponder the answer to the question, ‘does the electric car have a transmission’ it is vital to understand how much role the electric motor plays. It is a lot as the motor takes up most of the functions of mechanical transmission. 

The electric motor will produce a high torque output which transfers to the wheels through a fixed gear ratio optimized for the particular motor. This ensures the electric car can accelerate efficiently and smoothly. Since the high torque output is available immediately from a standstill, there’s no need for a complicated gearbox, and the single transmission works fine. 

Multiple-Gear Transmission in Electric Cars

While some electric vehicle models may still have a multiple-gear transmission, it’s not similar to the traditional transmission. But how is it different?

Internal combustion vehicles use gears to change the speed and torque of the car. But for EVs, it’s multiple electric motors that play this role. In EVs’ multiple-gear transmission setup, every gear is optimized for a particular range of speeds. This is vital to maintain efficient and consistent performance across the range of speeds, especially for high-performance EVs. 

However, multiple-motor transmissions are uncommon, and most EVs rely on single-speed transmissions.

So, does an electric car have a transmission? Yes, it does. But is it necessary if electric motors are so efficient?

Having a transmission in an electric vehicle has its advantages. The presence of a transmission helps provide the right amount of torque or power that’s most appropriate for the driving conditions. In addition, the transmission bears some of the burdens, which prolongs the motor’s life and improves the EVs overall performance.