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Do electric cars have gears?

Do electric cars need gears?

As electric cars don’t have a clutch, they also don’t need gears. Unlike with traditional petrol or diesel cars, electric cars have a single gear for drive and another for reverse. They don’t have a gearbox simply because they don’t need one.

This blog looks at the benefits of automatic electric cars, and the main differences you’ll notice when you first drive one. 

woman waiting for her electric car to charge

Why don’t electric cars need gears?

In petrol and diesel cars, the engine can only achieve certain speeds at the correct amount of revs. That’s why if you stay in a low gear for too long, you’ll notice you can no longer accelerate. Moving up the gears allows fuelled cars to increase their speed.

However, with electric vehicles this isn’t required. Their motors are capable of revving much higher than in fuel-powered cars, up to 20,000rpm compared to 6,000rpm. They can also provide instant power at the flick of a switch - or the push of a pedal. You won’t need to move through the gears to go faster, you’ll simply need to put your foot down.

Another reason electric cars don’t have gears is to keep costs down. It would add a huge expense to install an electric gear system, making electric cars unobtainable for all but the wealthiest drivers. 

Do electric cars have reverse gear?

An electric car has two driving options - drive and reverse. One will take you forward at whatever speed you need, while the other does exactly what it says on the tin and reverses you. 

This driving experience might feel a little strange if you’re used to driving a manual fuel car, but you’ll soon realise the benefits. The acceleration of an electric car is much faster than on a petrol or diesel alternative, and you’ll never find yourself slipping into the wrong gear when going round a roundabout. 

Stalling and hill start problems will also be a thing of the past. You can’t stall an electric car due to its lack of clutch, so you’ll simply push the accelerator down and drive away. 

Are all electric cars automatic?

No. Traditionally, they don’t need a clutch or a gearbox, so work more like automatic cars. This might feel strange if you’re used to using gears, so don’t be surprised if you occasionally go for a gear stick that isn’t there.

Ready to make the switch to electric?

Nationwide Vehicle Contracts offers a range of electric car lease deals that could all see you driving off in a brand new car. With the sale of new diesel cars set to be banned in 2030, there’s never been a better time to drive the future of automobiles. 

Still not sure? Check out our electric and hybrid car guides for all you need to know.


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