Will we see manual transmissions in EVs?

For what seems like the past decade there has been a movement to “Save the manuals” being promoted at car meets and on the internet. Unfortunately, this seemed like a futile battle as more and more manufacturers continue to eliminate manual transmission options or limit them to only the introductory or base models. There has been the odd model here and there where manufacturers have taken a stand and pushed the manual but that has been rare. However, we are now in a predicament with the rise of the EVs, and the future halt of ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles, is this the end of the manuals for good? Or will we see manual transmissions in EVs?

A transmission is a machine in a power transmission system which allows for controlled application of power. Sometimes they are referred to as a “gearbox”, in the sense that they use gears and gear trains to provide speed and torque conversions from a rotating power source to another device. In a motor vehicle, this means the transmission adapts the output of the engine to the wheels.  

For starters, EVs don’t need manual transmissions or really a traditional transmission period. Pretty much all the mass production EVs so far such as the Tesla vehicles, the Ford Mach-E, and the long-awaited Ford Lightening all use single speed transmissions. As a result, there is no push for them to have anything to row your gears as there are no gears. Some early EVs did need two speed transmissions due to the issues with being efficient at low speeds but also capable of high RPMs. As a result, the early Tesla Roadsters actually had a “high gear” and a “low gear” but this was quickly eliminated once Tesla figured out a better single speed transmission. 

What about future motor swaps for vehicles that are ICE based with manual transmissions? Again, no, you won’t see it. I highly doubt anyone will want to purchase some sort of manual conversion kit for the EV swap when you can ditch the transmission altogether and use the space for the EV engine and extra batteries. Bottom line, if you want a manual you better hang onto your manual ICE. 

About Meds

Ben is widely known as the car sales guy to his friends and family. He does not work at a dealership, although he has done so in the past. He currently works in fleet in the automotive industry and is a numbers guy. He currently drives a rather boring 2017 Ford F-150 as his daily, but his passion is his 2018 Ford Mustang GT. Disclaimer: he does not work for Ford, although he is a big fan.