One of the biggest gripes about electric cars from many die-hard auto enthusiasts, aside from not having a manual transmission, is that EVs lose all oomph at higher speeds. While this is true, there’s a very easy way to explain reason behind it: The lack of a transmission. Over the past two years, more original equipment manufacturers are dabbling in the world of transmissions for electrified cars, and it’s going to change the very way many of us view EVs.
The first time I visited a Tesla showroom, I was pleasantly surprised. Alongside the vehicles that I couldn’t afford (but yet was somehow allowed to sit in and play with) was a shrine to simplicity in the middle of the floor. A Model S’ soul sat in front of me, a mixture of aluminum and rubber undressed for the world to see. The chassis was stripped down to expose just the floor pan and motor, showing just how everything worked. There was no cramped engine bay, no mess of hoses and plastic. Just metal.
Not only does this simplicity work for aesthetics, but it also works for serviceability. In theory, fewer moving parts in a vehicle means more efficiency. Small parasitic draws caused by engine accessories, thermal inefficiency, engine wear, altitude, and more are removed from the equation. Most importantly, less maintenance and breakable parts are needed in electric cars when compared side-by-side to a gasoline-powered equivalent. One of the most notable parts that is commonly missing from an electric car is something ever-so-common in any gas-guzzler: A transmission.