Could Electric Cars Have A Manual Transmission?

Could Electric Cars Have A Manual Transmission?

Hello everyone and welcome!
In this video we’re going to be talking about whether or not future electric vehicles could be using traditional manual transmissions.
Now this is the second video of a five part series where i’ve partnered with Formula E to answer questions about electric cars and
this topic was actually inspired by Renault season two Formula E car, which uses a two-speed gearbox
matched with a single transversely mounted electric motor what’s super clever about their setup,
is that they actually went a bit old-school and incorporated a manual gear stick,
using cables and rods to switch between the two gears
rather than the pneumatic paddle shifters which other teams are using. Renault’s solution is simpler and also lighter as it doesn’t require
onboard pumps or air tanks for gear shifts.
But could this be taken a step further and incorporate a clutch as well for street cars
I spent some time chatting with the current Formula E champion Lucas Di Grassi,
who spends his free time engineering electric bikes about this idea.
So we have two questions that we really need to answer in order to discuss whether or not electric cars in the future could be
using manual transmissions. First of all, is it possible? And second of all, is it logical?
now the first question is it possible is a very simple yes, it’s it’s super easy to do
if for example you just took a traditional manual transmission
internal combustion engine vehicle and swap that internal combustion for an electric motor
everything could work
so you’d have your electric motor that would go to a clutch, that clutch would then rotate a lay shaft, the lay shaft
allows you to choose between these two different gears you’ve got here. So in this example, just a two speed transmission
which you’re using your manual gearshift to choose between one and two you could of course have more gears
all that power is then sent to the rear differential or the driven wheels and that drives those rear tires.
So ultimately yes, it’s it’s very simple to implement and a clutch could assist you in a scenario like this for gear shifts
basically all you’re doing is swapping out the internal combustion engine
for an electric motor of course you have to have the controllers in the battery and that kind of thing, but it could be done.
The other question, is it logical?
And this is probably you know the one that dictates whether or not it’ll actually be happening in the future
and it doesn’t actually seem all that logical first of all electric motors don’t stall like internal combustion engines
so when the vehicle is stopped in an internal combustion engine
you need that clutch because you have a speed differential between your engine
which is idling, lets say 800 RPM, 900 RPM versus the transmission where that isn’t rotating because it’s connected to your wheels
now with an electric motor because you don’t stall you can start from zero RPM,
you don’t actually need to you know use that clutch to start from a standstill you can actually just press on the
throttle pedal, the accelerator pedal, and away you go
so you wouldn’t need it for the start and ultimately the clutch portion of this isn’t really necessary
so electric motors have a lot less you know inertia to them. There’s less weight in there
you don’t have for example the crank shaft with the counterbalance of
you know the different piston motions
you don’t have to worry about a flywheel you don’t have to have balance shafts and engines that require balance shafts for vibration issues
so you can remove a lot of weight from an electric motor you
have a smooth torque delivery, so you don’t need that flywheel and so ultimately
because it’s low inertia it means it can change its speed very quickly
and this allows for very easy shifting if you had an
electronic mechanism to shift Gears
which knew you know which gear you’re going to next you could have very quick upshifts and downshifts for up shifts you could
use regen to you know lower that motor speed very quickly, and you could apply some acceleration for rev-matching
downshifts and do that very quickly
so it will be capable of extremely quick shifts because the electric motors are low inertia and can change speed very quickly and
finally which was discussed in the first video of this series you don’t actually need gears for a lot of electric vehicles
you can get away without them. They just add complexity, they add weight, they add an efficiency loss,
you’ve got all this power loss which is going to happen in here when you could just have this directly or just a simple gear
reduction before driving a wheel
and there’s a lot of benefits of just matching an electric motor with a wheel and
having one at each corner rather than sending it through this complicated drivetrain where you’re going to have
efficiency losses and for street cars where you know you’re only maybe accelerating up to a 100 mph tops
for normal everyday cars
one gear is perfectly acceptable for it,
and in fact renault also moved away from using the two-speed manual shifting setup in favour of a single gear for reduced
weight and reduced frictional losses while the more aggressive two-speed setup can allow for quicker starts or acceleration out of low speed corners
it seems the trade-off for the multi-gear setup
wasn’t worth it, and Renault’s design strategies continue to pay off as they’ve won all three season team championships in Formula E.
Now does this mean that they couldn’t exist in the future for enthusiasts?
I mean perhaps they could and there’s no reason really why they couldn’t and if you really do think about it even
today looking at manual transmissions, are they logical? They’re really not it’s really for driving joy
rather than a logical reason because there’s quicker transmissions out there there are more efficient transmissions out there
we use these simply because they’re enjoyable to drive. So it would be cool to see if perhaps in the future
we do get something with an electric powertrain, but that’s also using a traditional manual transmission, so a huge thank you to Formula E,
i’ll include a link to their channel if you’d like to see more and
thank you all for watching! If you have any questions, or comments feel free to leave them below.

100 Replies to “Could Electric Cars Have A Manual Transmission?”

  1. I personally hate driving automatic cars. I simply hate to drive an automatic car and not think about which gear I am on, current speed and RPM, and not doing any rev matching when shifting. I wish automakers will somehow shove in a manual transmission into an electric car. Manual transmission's are so much fun to drive.

  2. short answer:

    long answer:
    An adapter could be made, and a motor could be hooked up to an existing transmission.
    Whether the transmission could handle it; Probably not, they're not made to handle that kind of torque and power from a stand still, (unless its a tractor transmission)
    and significant strengthening of the gears would likely be necessary on most transmissions.
    In conclusion: try it and find out.

    note: I do not have any experience on this topic and have done no research, I just used what I know to come to a logical conclusion.
    and I have yet to watch the video, I will reply to this comment with any different conclusions/opinions afterwards.
    Take my words with a grain of salt.

    I just spent way too much time doing the grammar on a comment I'm sure won't amount to anything.

  3. that depends entirely on me, junior. if I choose to convert my manual transmission car to an electric, then it will be done.

  4. With gearbox, eletric vehicles can be more useble on highway
    But you have to calculate the new effieciency with one more device

  5. I hope the first gear is a down gear for more torque, so that the second gear is a direct gear.
    It makes no sense upgearing an electric motor (the torque gain of lowering RPM, will be negated by the taller gear ratio).
    What works best for electric cars is high revving motors, with a 'tow' gear, for higher torque and acceleration.

  6. Here is an unpopular opinion. Automatics are safer, more confortable and easier to use than manuals for daily commuting within city. They are also faster and don't stall with beginner drivers.

  7. Of course the land of manual would be at the top of their game in that arena. You're right, manuals are pure joy, only essentially, one is just sitting in a machine and shifting gears in compliment to RPM. The slower the heavier, the faster the lighter and almost no gear differential ratio. So how to make that electric (the pure machining joy element) one would have to depreciate the electric capability almost, kw in precise ratio to mph( Km/s(h)) so a resistance substantial enough to only understand heavy pull, and the resistance gets less with higher gear ratio… Maybe, would have to test that concept. Or a combination command prompt in the PCM with the usual gear box to only allow certain kw of power per gear in relation to the shifting, but that's easier said than done

  8. I can still see a transmission being used in production electrics so a single cheaper electric engine can get more torque on high load, even if it's just two gears.

  9. So efficiency wise is there any advantage to having gears?? I mean electric car or truck say it has 2 gears or 10 whatever if the load at a given speed is constant but the rpms of electric mtr changed dose it use more or less electricity? Say 80mph in 1st gear the electric mtr is turning 2000rpm but in 2nd it turns 1000rpms??

  10. …and yet, places like EVWest use manual gearboxes, especially for the convenience of the reverse gear needed for commercial cars (as opposed to racing); they use 2 speed and reverse gearboxes. I suppose that it depends on context.

  11. AFAIK, electric motor torque is at it's highest at lower RPM (could a "steeper" gear ratio utilize this torque more efficiently/effectively… possible increasing range?) 2.91 rear end vs. 4.11

  12. What I do not understand, efficiency on the side, if the gear is shorter, is electric car accelerating faster? Let's say electric car has one gear which has maximum speed of 250kmh at 20K rpm, if it had 2 gears, one with max speed of 100kmh and other same as current 250kmh, wouldn't it accelerate faster till 100km/h?

    I know it has max power all the time, but if gear is shorter, will it benefit acceleration?

  13. I think gears would make sense for no reason other than energy regeneration-assuming the motor can output the power and the batteries could take it.

    Basically go to a shorter ratio while braking and pulling more tq

  14. so the whole point of getting in a gearbox is simply cuz the Engine does not have the pulling power required to move the engine right? so wouldn't it make sense a gearbox been used to leverage a low-powered Electric motor? by doing this can we achieve more mileage? with less power consumption?

  15. One thing not considered is the dual motor setup used for 4WD in EV's
    You would either have to ditch that in favour of a more traditional setup with one motor, or have the issue of synchronising 2 motors and 2 gearboxes.

  16. Having lower gears to multiply the motor torque would mean a less powerful motor can be used and still get up to a decent top speed, to power a single speed ev you need a motor capable of very high torque to move the vehicle from a standstill at usually a 1-1 ratio

    Many converted ev have the clutch converted to solid coupling which makes pulling away clunky and jerky, they usually have to stop then select a gear before pulling away in the new gear, or changing gear by matching rpm like an old school dog box.

    To keep the clutch and maintain a regular car feel you would need some kind of idle mode on the motor for "normal" smoothness whilst changing gears, even changing gear when the engine is off (0 rpm )but the vehicle is rolling is not smooth.

    When you are stopped the motor could shut off completely just like on a stop/start capable i.c.e. car but whilst driving the motor could hold a 1000 rpm idle whilst shifting just like an engine to smooth out the transition.

  17. In UK most drivers have a manual licence, allowing them to drive manual or automatic. It tends to only be a small minority who go for the automatic only licence, due to having difficulties learning manual. In fact many auto instructors don't even consider students who have not first tried to learn in a manual car. For this reason, I (A driving instructor myself) cant envisage a time when I will ever own an electric vehicle. Ill be honest, Id love one! I really do feel it is the way forward. But like many others here I love my manual gearbox and dont want to give it up, plus I don't want to be stuck with only having those percentage of learners who cant figure out how to drive manual (ie the really difficult stressful students. I like a challenge, but only interspersed into a good range of abilities). Then there is the cost. new drivers tend to go for a banger for their first car as mistakes happen. Automatic 2nd hand cars are rare, and therefore electric second hand rarer still, which means their prices tend to be out of reach of many new drivers who tend not to buy a brand new car as their first vehicle. What would be the point in me teaching in an automatic EV. I see a few instructors chat about this, and about how range is getting better, but that they still tend to stop off half way through a day for a recharge, making the work day so much longer. I feel sad that I cannot move with the times and go down the EV route, but as yet with range, and the lack of a manual gearbox (and clutch actually stalling the car) I dont feel the industry is ready for instructors.

  18. Thanks for your way in explain …:) is it possible that making a manual transmission to earn charging car with car moving without clutch engagement while car moves with self push..hope to find answer from you … and really i enjoy washing .

  19. Hi Jason,
    I am Joy from India and
    1st of all I would like to tell you that I really love the way you explain and have learned lot of things from you regarding automobile vehicles. Today I would really like to know something from you as I know for sure that it is you, who can clear my doubts on this matter.
    The thing that I would really like to know is that, is it possible to make an autonomous electric vehicle that does not requires charging (after the 1st full charge). Will sufficient current be generated if a liquid cooled electric motor in a vehicle stalls continuously like an internal combustion engine and is connected or detached from the driven shaft by a transmission?….

  20. I still have yet to find a single transmission more efficient than a manual. The EPA agrees, since the manual TDI is rated 2 MPG higher than the automatic. I'm not rich enough to afford two identical cars for testing both transmission options, but that's what collective data is for between owners. I'm not the only one trying to see how many MPG I can get.

  21. I beg to differ on your manual trans opinion.
    Do deny that manuals are lighter, cheaper, less complicated, & last longer without rebuilding than automatics over time?

  22. I think in the future, I think that the manual transmission will become what the mechanical keyboard is to PC enthusiasts, yes it's outdated but you cannot replace it's feel

  23. The question I am interested in is there any efficiency gains possible with a two speed transmission with one gear for city driving, and one for the highway?

  24. Every VW air cooled EV conversion has a manual with clutch. Electric motor bolts in where gas engine was. clutch not needed to shift.

  25. Isn't it ironic, that people who really enjoy to drive want a manual transmission, but even they want it to shift as quickly as possible. So the next step is a automatic transmission, e.g. dual clutch transmissions, they're quickly, but even they're not as fast as a one gear transmission, because the last one doesn't have to shift. No shift, no time loss. It's just like the old story of the development of the wheel: by adding more and more edges, the final perfect solution is: no edges. But yes, even I am sad about this "non gear future".

  26. Tesla model S transaxle weighs almost the same as a Vauxhall Insignia gearbox so I am not quite sure what you mean by added weight? 🤔

    A gearbox will reduce the amperage and increase the regeneration braking at low speeds. This is why Toyota stick to the cvt on their prius plug-ins because in that way, a small electric motor is used cutting down on energy usage.

  27. There is a like $400,000-$700,000 corvette that you take it to some modifying company and they make it electric and manual

  28. Well toyota is investing more into hydrogen powered cars, maybe electric and hydrogen can co-exist and that's where we can have our fun by them being made manuel since they would need a transmission

  29. It is 100% possible to have a manual gearbox in an electric vehicle, would it be necessary the answer to that is no. My guess is IF electric cars are the future, its something the driving enthusiasts will do for a bit of fun. I would do it to my car simply for the joy of driving. Currently no electric grid can support it if everyone drove electric cars, we still have a lot of developments that need before we go 100% electric.

  30. In 1/10 rc car world, you only need to have one gear ratio, so forget about enthusiast real car because people will forget about shifting gear instead of press your paddle and go. Just look up 1/12 pan car and you will see you only need one gear, they 're really fast.

  31. Hello, I have two questions.
    With a manual transmission you can use a "smaller" engine for the same car?

    Can a manual transmission improve the range of the battery?

  32. 5:12 So very true. I could very possibly see myself doing a retrofit mod on my current car, or a new purchased project car, either way – I very much want to retrofit an EV motor into a standard standard transmission vehicle.

  33. Can someone who is smart enough to convert a ice car to electric help me out with my build ?! I want to electrify my Z32 300zx BUT I want to KEEP my manual transmission ohh yeah and I want to keep AC it's hot here in Vegas ! Thanks

  34. @EngineeringExplained I agree with you on most things but to say that 'manual transmissions are illogical' today is incorrect. They are still without argument more reliable than automatics. I buy only manual cars, if nothing else, because of the reliability factor

  35. Can electric cars have a whip, and something that uses coconut halves clapping, so I can pretend there's a horse on the front?

  36. If you wanted more top speed out of an electric car a multiple speed gearbox could make sense. But you probably wouldn't need more than 3 or 4 speeds.

  37. Electric car company dont want transmission because
    1 they want you , always plug on Electric outlet ….
    2 they don't want ( electric car company) their car make extra miles..

  38. Pretty sure this could all just be programmed into the car. Install a "pretend" clutch and a "pretend" stick, and just program a friction zone and different power ratios into the ECU.

  39. i watched a vid a while back where a guy converted a car to electric and kept the 5 speed. he said he shifts when he wants to have fun, but when just driving around he puts it in 3rd and leaves it there.

  40. Wheeler Dealers did this with a Maserati Bi-Turbo and Edd mentioned that the car didn't need the clutch to shift gears since electric motors don't stall so you could probably do a direct drive with the gearbox.

  41. I drove an electric vehicle with a manual transmission before this video was posted. It was a cheap multi-passenger "tour bus golf cart" thing, up to 25 MPH with 4 or 5 gears (don't recall which). Using gears 1-2 really helped with acceleration when fully loaded. Had to get to top gear for full speed. Not sure what type of electric motor is used in these machines.

  42. This is why I say that slow people cannot make fast cars. Bro you're dead wrong about a lot if this stuff. I'm not trying to be insulting just hear me out. Transmissions were designed to work for combustion engines. If they were designed to work for electric motors, they would be a lot more effective, and there are some but they're not for cars. Servos are geared; It's that simple. A lot of machines that have electric motors and gearboxes literally have transmissions. It all depends on what you design it for, and there most certainly is a demand for trannys in EVs. All EV motors are the same, They are very weak in comparison to combustion engines which transmission are made for but nonetheless transmissions will always do one thing. They improve the strength of a motor. Electric motors don't have good torque at higher rpms. Some more than others but it's still low torque at higher rpms. Shifting is necessary if you want to improve the performance of an electric motor. The model S is killing cars in 0 to 60 and quarter mile runs but that's only 60mph. Past 120 mph, it's a normal car all over again. A transmission specifically designed for an electric motor might not even look like combustion engine transmissions, but why should it? That makes no sense. The only reason we haven't seen it done in the past is because we didn't have the means, or simply didn't want to bother with innovating a specialized transmission for an ev. And Tesla also confuses people because they make you think a quick 0 to 60 and 120 on a 1 speed gearbox is faster than you'll ever need to go for the most part but, it just isn't truly powerful all the way through, nor does it make for a good daily driver that you can still take to the track. To think that 60 and 120 mph is so easy without a transmission, and that formula e cars actually have 2 speeds, is only an invitation for electric cars to use transmissions to get the rest of whatever performance benefits over combustion there are out of them. Transmissions are very much needed in electric cars to make them complete.

  43. I remember how much I dreaded learning to drive stick. Now, I couldn't imagine happily owning a vehicle that isn't a manual.

  44. Obviously it's better to go electric to take care of the planet and all that.. so I think that in the future most people will be driving automatic electric cars since most people drive automatics already, and there will still be manual cars but mostly like… sport cars. I do have a question though, do we need to get rid of all gas/diesel fueled cars to maintain and care for our planet or we just have to get the use of fossil fuels and all that really Low ..?

  45. Review the corvette gxe!!!!!! Integrated engineering plz!!!!! Because they put a manual transmission in a electric transmission

  46. Actually manual gearbox isn't about "joy", but it's about efficiency and full control. Automatic gearboxes, even DSG, still have some lag and relatively poor control for downshifting etc… and in real life driver who knows what he is doing with manual gearbox will be better off anytime. In snowy conditions automatic gearbox could be even dangerous, not to say that you can't tow another car without damaging the gearbox, you can't get towed neither… Electric cars is a completely different thing. But electric cars aren't there yet, and it as of today there is no even talking about battery solution. So, internal combustion engine with manual gearbox is unbeaten, and the more experienced driver you are, the more benefits you can get from manual gearbox.

  47. It will be fun to drive but the car would be heavier therefore there’s a trade off which is efficiency. A manual transmission gearbox can weigh up to 200 lbs.

  48. Unless you're somehow into foundling a stick (not kink-shaming, to each their own). There's basically no performance reason for electric motors to have manual shifting.

  49. If you have the rpm of the next gear on a tachomoter with the motor rpm, you could manually shift just like the computer would. In addition to allowing faster acceleration at high speeds, you could get more torque for towing or rock climbing.

  50. A lot of things exist in vehicles just as a novelty and/or for joy (styling and stereos, for the most obvious examples). Why not stick shifts?

  51. People are converting regular cars into electric. Doing it to a manual transmission donor car could be interesting. Would be able to select a gear ratio to run, vs traditionally shifting. Select gear 5-6 for eco driving, 3-4 for more spirited driving.

  52. Efficiency loss through a manual transmission is minimal. I would assume it would be even better on the 2 speed Renault manual since there are less gears in mesh.

  53. Setting aside the "joy" of driving with a manual transmission….a manual transmission in an electric vehicle would not be a complete waste. Electric motors still have a "horsepower" rating…just like gasoline engines. Having "low" gears is still going to multiply the torque of the electric motor. How would that not be beneficial in high-load applications such as towing. Also, comparing light weight carbon fiber race cars to street vehicles does not seem like a realistic comparison. Id be curious to see if having a higher gear would decrease energy consumption in an existing car (a normal car, not a race car) that has been converted to electric while utilizing it's own manual transmission. And then compare it to the same make and model car with the same electric motor and batteries but with single speed / direct drive.

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