EV Sales Sticking Point: People Still Want Manual Transmissions

Call me crazy, but I’m ride or die for manual transmissions. I drove enough go-karts and played enough Pole Position as a kid to know that shifting the gears yourself is simply where it’s at when it comes to tooling around in anything that isn’t human-powered. After all, manuals can be roll-started. A driver has options other than braking and praying on slippery roads. Any sports car worth its rich Corinthian leather (or whatever) has a manual transmission, right? And you know that Rush’s Red Barchetta ain’t no automatic. Face it, shifting gears is just plain cooler. And it’s not a chore if it gets you more, although the fuel efficiency thing is a myth at this point.

You can imagine then my horror at the idea that someday within my lifetime, most cars will be twist-and-go electric go-karts. As the age of the combustion engine appears to draw to a close (no, seriously this time), there’s just one thing keeping the door open — marked enthusiasm for manual transmissions. From Audi to the Nissan Z, automakers report that the take rate for manual transmissions is quite high in the US, despite the death knell that has been tolling for two decades or so. Two models of Honda Civic are manual-only. This phenomenon isn’t restricted to sports cars, either — the 2022 Ford Bronco comes in a seven-speed manual, and has seen a take rate over 20%.

The Soullessness of a New Machine

The EV just seems so soulless to me, and I know I’m not alone in this. In a regular car, you’re just more in tune with what’s going on. There are sights and smells. Noises galore. I’m not saying that EVs don’t have their sensory landmarks, I just believe they are a different breed. Not a new breed, of course — electric cars have been around almost as long as combustion models. But obviously, the landscape is changing and has been for about 20 years now.

We don’t wax lyrical about paddle shifters as we do about manual gearboxes. — Henry Catchpole, automotive journalist

Electric cars may be powerful and have a ton of instantly available torque, but it’s just not the same experience. There’s no engagement, no feeling like you are one with the car. And besides, how often are you out there redlining your engine or testing the 0-60? Oh, never? That’s what I thought.

Realistically, those things don’t matter unless you’re a professional driver on a closed course. As Bob Sorokanich, editor-in-chief of Jalopnik said, “Tesla has the quickest car on the market — just floor the accelerator and hang on. It doesn’t take any driver skill.”

Now, doesn’t that just about sum it up? ‘Doesn’t take any driver skill’. Shouldn’t it, though? In the hundred and thirty or so years of the automobile, the one thing we haven’t managed to make safer is our interactions with each other on the road. Sure, we have speed limits now, and roll cages, and seat belts. But we’re all more distracted than ever, and we’re all still mostly human. So, does driving really need to be a place of convenience? I think not.

258 thoughts on “EV Sales Sticking Point: People Still Want Manual Transmissions

  1. “the take rate for manual transmissions is quite high in the US”?

    Really? You would be lucky to find a new car in the US/Canada with manual transmission. The majority of the population can barely drive an automatic tranny, forget the manual.

    1. Lexus keeps barraging my webpages with ads that escape past AdBlock, for their manual hatchback, which is creepy since I haven’t been looking for a new car and probably won’t ever buy another new car if I can help it. But they seem to think manual is a selling point in north america.
      At least locally, used Subaru wagons with a manual transmission have a roughly $800 markup over a similar spec automatic, which is pretty funny.

      1. That’s because the Subaru has a disposable tranny that ruins the car before the engine, at an astonishingly low mileage. It should be the engine limiting life… My cousin got over 300k on his manual outback, and the newer outback needed three transmission rebuilds before 200k with identical driving. A Google search proved this was typical.

      2. Manuals that show up on the lot get scooped up within hours. Took me three broken appointments with different dealerships before getting my car and it wasn’t even the one I had the appointment for. Dealership said they just can’t keep them and the manufacturers aren’t paying attention.

    2. I learned to drive in an old Ford truck when I was 15. I loved it. When I was 18, my parents were kind enough to get me a new Ranger (lets face it, the old F-100 isn’t going to cut it in a college town with no airbags, ABS, or seat belts). I test drove a bare bones white Ranger with a manual. The clutch felt weird. The stick was short. I thought maybe I could get used to it, but I didn’t like the truck that much because we wanted an extended cab. I asked if we could get the extended cab with the manual. They told me it would thousands of dollars more. They don’t come with manuals from the factory. They would literally have to custom make it. I ended taking the extended cab with the automatic.

    3. “You would be lucky to find a new car in the US/Canada ”

      We can just shorten it to that right now, supply chain issues are a bastard. I do not want to be looking for a car right now, but just had an abrupt out of warranty failure on my 7 year old dealer serviced Nissan, which I was assured would be a way more durable purchase than a random used car. Random used cars I have owned and self serviced have gone twice the age and mileage. Don’t buy a Nissan, they don’t stand behind their products any more.

      However, the problem has become somewhat endemic, It seems that the automakers have been slicing beans too thin the past decade, and there’s large segments of the market that have motors that can’t be expected to go much past 150,000. CVTs seem destined to die early also. .. because obviously the market was screaming for an auto that was half as reliable as 1990s first gen electronically controlled automatics.

      The used market wasn’t “healed” yet from the lack of purchasing in the 2008-2010 time frame, earlier cars got extra “used up”, 2008-2010 cars are relatively fewer in number than other cohorts. Then they started really cheaping out, resulting in a lot of cars that are worn out at 5-10 years old, or got too “clever” with bleeding edge tech and tens of thousands are off the road from recalls, airbags and other. Then there are cars that drive, but the infotainment that controlled HVAC too is acting poltergeist possessed, making them rather unlivable in areas that have climate extremes winter and summer. Then I’m in an area where rust munches it’s merry way through everything real fast, so gems from 15+ years ago fell prey to that before mechanical death.

      Anyway, sales figures are down 50% not due to lack of demand at present, but because that’s all the cars they can make to sell in the market segments where the demand is (You can get any large SUV or luxo barge at $50,000+ pricing) Electric and PHEV are selling at premiums because of gas prices.

      So the used market is crap, the efficient new vehicles are unobtainium, and I’m close to buying a $3000 truck and spending 500 on gas a month rather than taking an 84 month 7.99% loan on something they can guarantee delivery inside a month, rather than 6-8.

  2. Word, the biggest lie was upselling people more expensive automatic transmission under the lure or inexistent benefits. Unless you are a bus driver i fail to see the advantage. Talking strictly cars here, loved both but I like having to do something.

    1. I get that manual transmissions are fun, but think of it from a more practical standpoint – is the shifter a control input that is actually useful to the driver? Like, imagine if we had “manual” calculators where you had to turn a crank to clock the CPU – fun, maybe, but not necessary. Same goes for transmissions. You have the already mentally taxing job of looking at the road and steering, and on top of that you add this extra ‘minigame’ that’s easily automated (looking at the tachometer and pushing a stick whenever it reaches a certain value).

      Yes, I know there are some minor benefits to a manual transmission, but for most people an automatic transmission just relieves their brain and limbs from an extra task that isn’t necessary. I get why some people want to hold onto manual cars, but it’s really getting hard to claim that most people should be driving one.

      1. I think the main reason some prefer manual is because they take more abuse and are basically fairly fixable by most independent shops. These people tend to want to hang on to their car/truck longer, thus repairable is a plus.

      2. People need to engage their brains on that “unnecessary task.” Internal combustion engines have a relatively narrow RPM range where the efficiency is best. If you want good gas mileage, you need to actively drive in that range.

        You can make use of a manual transmission to stay in that range. Since manual transmissions tend to have more gears (4 or more compared to 3 for an automatic,) you can stay in the best efficiency range better.

        Even with an automatic, you can get better mileage if you guide it rather than just tromping on the gas pedal and hoping for the best.

        My car has a manual transmission. I get something like 6.3 liters to the hundred kilometers out of it (38 miles per gallon.) If my wife drives it, she gets like 7 liters to the hundred kilometers (34 miles per gallon.) She makes fun of me for shifting so often, but it makes a difference in the mileage.

        The difference can be more drastic. On our last vacation in the USA, we rented a car with an automatic transmission – manual transmissions are exceedingly rare in US car rentals.

        The car had been driven by a previous renter from Texas to Missouri at an average of 25 miles per gallon.

        I drove it from Missouri to Georgia at an average of 40 miles per gallon.

        The difference was only in the driver.

        An automatic will “listen” to you. You can make it shift when you want it. Tromp the gas, and it’ll downshift. Ease up on the gas while accelerating and it’ll up shift.

        That “unnecessary task” (shifting gears) is the difference between good and bad gas mileage in a car – whether you are driving a manual or an automatic.

        Electric vehicles don’t have a narrow efficiency range like internal combustion engine cars, making a transmission with multiple gear rations less necessary – to the point that the added weight becomes a cost rather than a benefit.

        1. Very true. Watching people drive a car like they just stole it, at every stop light, is a bewildering experience.

          It’s like they detest money and need to rid themselves of it as quickly as possible while damaging their environment, in every sense of the word.

          1. …and at the next light jam on the brakes at the last possible millisecond!

            If I see the the light’s red at the next intersection (or it will be by the time I get there) I’ll coast up to the light with a final little ‘boop’ on the brake.

            On an 18 mile commute, I have 4 different speed-reduction areas from 55 mph to 30 or 40 mph. I never have to hit the brake because I ease off the gas so that I’m going the speed I need to as I hit the zone.

            I figure I’m saving gas, brakes and tires, if not time.

        2. Since manual transmissions tend to have more gears (4 or more compared to 3 for an automatic,) you can stay in the best efficiency range better.

          “tend” – maybe 50 years ago that was true. Today? well….. My previous automatic had 5 gears. New automatics come with 10 speeds or a CVT. Good luck getting better mileage than a computer controlled auto today.

          1. On the last car with a CVT that I drove, you had to be able to predict the future to do anything. When you stomped the accelerator, it would first wind down the CVT to a lower gear ratio. After it did that it would start feeding more gas to the engine. To pass a truck on the highway, you had to know about 5 seconds before you started that you were going to do it so that it would actually accelerate when you swung out to the passing lane. That was with the cursed thing in “sport” mode. In “economy,” it was worse.

      3. “that’s easily automated (looking at the tachometer and pushing a stick whenever it reaches a certain value).”

        But no manual driver actually actively looks at the tacho when changing gear, and that’s part of the allure. You hear and feel the various performance characteristics, the powertrain load, the exhaust note, the acceleration (or lack of) and eventually you don’t need to think about it, you’ve become part of the machine. And you therefore feel more in control, more engaged and more enjoyment. At least that’s what I and many car enthusiasts feel. There’s no “right” gear for a given RPM, or situation, it takes skill and connectedness to know whether you need to pre-emptively change for a corner, or if you wish to hold this one longer. If you’re trying to achieve good gas mileage, or if you’re having fun today. If you’re trying to control a slide, or if you’re shopping with the family. It’s that intangible connectedness that makes manuals more fun, instead of just push and go. I have both, but I don’t enjoy the experience of driving the auto. However I don’t think this entire article is realistic, even in the UK where all cars were manual and almost everyone learns manual from day 1, plenty of folk choose auto now, and 95% of drivers *do not care* about cars like enthusiasts do. If there’s an auto available and no manual, they won’t wait for the manual production to occur. The qty of autos in the UK is rapidly rising, so I don’t expect this to be a problem for EVs at all. Also bear in mind that enthusiasts don’t generally buy EVs because EVs are a long way from the ideals that any enthusiast enjoys – sure the performance straight line can be staggering, but they still weigh the same as a boat anchor, have no connectedness, and physically cannot handle like a lightweight sports car.

      4. The answer… YES ABSOLUTELY IN EVERY CONCEIVABLE WAY! Unfortunately, drivers who’ve had tasks removed tend to engage in activities that distract them nearly 100% from their task at hand, DRIVING. Often staring at their phones instead of the road.

      5. “Yes, I know manually chewing your food has minor benefits, but for most people a permanently installed feeding tube just relieves their brain and mouths of an extra task that isn’t necessary”

        What is necessary? A life of only doing the necessary is no life at all. Why must every human element of everything be “engineered” away?

        1. This right here! I had the same sentiment reading Anton’s post. Those little tasks in our daily lives, that we used to have to do, have now been replaced by a bot which has been engineered to be convenient. But is it? It’s like that Nirvana song, “…I don’t have to think, I only have to do it, results are always perfect…”.

          We just can’t outsource every aspect of our lives, it’s dangerous. Anyway, manual transmissions are just fun & engaging to drive!

  3. You don’t need to roll-start an EV. I drove a stick for decades. My left leg is visibly larger than the right. Urban traffic. Now I have an automatic. The only people who regret the disappearing stick shift are chiropractors.

          1. Or it’s the lack of steering wheel adjustment. Had to drive a car a lot a few years ago where I couldn’t get my right leg straight (auto) with the seat full back, and that was hell on my knee and ankle. My shin was practically parallel with the lower dash too with only like 1/4″ clearance. It was definitely not a car I would have bought.

      1. Manual transmissions will last 20 years. That’s my big beef with automatics: Longevity. I can get a 20 year old manual spit-box for $2k on craigslist and be pretty sure I’ll get another 60-100k miles out of it. An automatic that old is a crapshoot. Especially now that we’ve gone from pressure activated shifting to solenoids in the valve body and computer controlled shifting. The CVTs and 7+ speed automatics are even more complex. Hard to find someone to rebuild one of those these days. Mostly it’s a swap at the dealer if the transmission goes bad. But a standard gearbox? It will last. Plus when you buy it you can suss out if it has major maladies (main shaft bearings shot, synchros shot, missing a gear).
        My dad always asks me “Why do you drive a 20 year old car” Because I Can, Dad. Because I can.

        1. my computer controlled auto box with paddles on the steering will is 24 years old, and has done > 300,000kms.. Still works fine – the problem isn’t the concept, it’s in some of the (cheap) implementations..

        2. On non-enthusiast cars, manuals are currently made from spit, string and glass. Most of the recent problems haven’t been inside the box itself much, but with weak clutches, leaky master cylinders etc. 40,000 mile clutch replacements are talked of.

          It used to be true that a manual could be built much stouter than an automatic, heavy duty automatics made strides through the 90s, and coming into this century had replaced manuals for superduty tow/haul needs. Meanwhile manual boxes in econoboxes got pared for weight and cost, no longer would you have the same transmission in a 100hp four banger as behind the 250HP six, minus bellhousing oddities, so excess durability began to dissappear… closely followed a decade later by expected minimum durability in some cases.

  4. I’ve had a manual transmission in four of my last five cars. I find it vastly preferable in an ICE powered car. What scares me about electric cars is lack of a clutch. I want a manually operated switch which will kill electric power to the drive train in case the computer or other electronics screw up.

        1. The really dumb one is the hard link between brake pedal and hydraulic system.

          I’ll accept throttle by wire, but brake by wire? Hell no, I’m an EE after all. Maybe if they adopted FAA level standards for ECU code, but today. HELL NO, ARE YOU CRAZY?

          Did you even read the Toyota ECU teardown report? e.g. Heap and stack at the same end of memory. With recursive functions, stack blows right into the Kernel memory space. Apparently written by children managed by psychopaths. Function complexity scores (basically count of flow control statements in one function) in the 1000s.

          Do you think AC/Delco or Bosch is getting the cream of CalTech/MIT or the dregs of Devry (or German equivalents)?

          1. Tesla scares me the most. They’re a car company being run like a tech company. There’s no redundancy, critical and noncritical functions are all on one computer. The whole eMMC logging thing is utterly ridiculous.

          1. “I’m a programmer, and absolutely nobody should trust programmers.”

            That brought a smile to my face. It is an oxymoron, I can’t trust what he wrote, because he told me he can’t be trusted.

            I am not slamming on [Rolenthedeep] may he live long and prosper.

    1. I ditched my stick in the daily driver when I had lots of stop and go traffic on hills (SF bay area). And for highway driving I have no practical difference between an automatic and driving 100’s of miles in an overdrive gear. And finally there is a sweet spot for big pickup trucks that are good for towing where an automatic is really nice. Much bigger transmissions like in a big rig or dump truck and you go back to manual or to an electronically controlled transmission that are technically different from fluid coupled torque convertor of classic automatic transmissions.

      Use whatever transmission technology you want, I won’t judge. But in an EV I would rather see a multiphase motor and control of frequency over a mechanical transmission. I had a riding lawn mower with a hydrostatic transmission and it was so much fun to drive, it has an infinite number of gears between the top and bottom end. The same sort of linear control in an EV would be pretty awesome. Note of my own bias: I desperately want a truck/suv rock crawler EV to hit the market. (for entertainment purposes, I don’t actually need one)

    2. Need about a foot of broomhandle, fixed firmly to one end of a 12 foot drain snake as a stout bowden cable. The other end is mechanically connected to a large bus bar on the power pack or at the motor, that is friction clamped in place. Leverage advantage may be required. But the idea is, you have the handle under your seat, then when you hit the “oh crap abort abort” moment, you grab it with both, hands and haul on it, yanking the bus bar out of place.

      On hondas hybrids I think though, all the brains run off the 12V conventional battery, so you could put a conventional racing cutoff switch under the dash for that and kill it… though if stuff was fused and shorted, circumventing power control, that wouldn’t do it.

      Possibly the regular fusebox could be an aid, put tape tags on a variety of useful fuses to pull in emergencies. In gasoline cars the fuel pump fuse would be a good bet if you’re worried about drive by haywire.

  5. I mostly feel the same, but colloquially speaking I only know a few people for which stick is truly deciding factor for a car purchase, and I was a big car guy through high school and college. Part of it is that it’s just so hard/expensive to find a newish that so many care about that’s also stick. Unless you’re buying a commuter car brand new (I think the Accord and Impreza still offer stick, along with a couple others), which is a poor financial decision, or are buying an expensive sports car, the vast majority of the available stock is >10 years old.

    I, personally, tire of old cars and their disintegrating suspension bushings, bent suspension mounts (no, I don’t want 2deg of toe out on my right rear), leaky door seals, shot electronics, etc. It’s what I still drive because I love stick, but every reasonable stick purchase is inevitably one of four options:
    -Very expensive up front
    -A project
    -$1.5-$4 grand more than purchase to get a shop to fix stuff
    -A little bit of a pile with its collection of minor ignored issues

    And to be honest, as much as I love stick and will only ever have a stick ICE car (for mine, the better half likes stick too but has compromised), I’ll probably get an EV within 10 years and be fine with it.

    1. Do your suspension bushings, it’s not hard. Use a torch to burn the old ones out then push with a press. It kind of sucks, but once you get it down, it’s easy enough (always one hard to access one). Hydraulic presses are all kinds of fun. Shops charge a lot for this, because they don’t want the job.

      Polyurethane bushings make a car handle _better_ than new. Especially when good shocks are installed. If you’ve never done this you will be surprised how much difference it makes. It’s a solid weekend’s work, will need alignment after.

      Don’t do this on a car with aluminum suspension links. Those aren’t serviceable. If the bushings are toast the links fatigue life is over.

      Spend half a car payment pre month on your old car (averaged) and it can last a long long time. Assuming no rust.

      IIRC Civic Si is the only Honda left with a good trans. At least Honda doesn’t use Jatco CVTs.

      1. I’ve burned out my fair share of bushings. I agree it’s not hard, but it’s definitely a pain in the ass, and I simply don’t have time to waste most of a Saturday on it anymore. Even if I have the time, I have literally a dozen other projects waiting for me to sink time into them that I’m more passionate about.

        Half a car payment per month is a huge amount of money, and not one I’m looking to spend. It’d definitely cover whatever needed, but I have other budgetary priorities.

        Like I said, I spent a good chunk of my adult life doing car guy things. It’s not something I’m looking to spend most of my free time on anymore, even if I love driving stick. I’m merely sharing why stick cars are a pain to buy as a boring-ass adult.

        1. Yet you are willing to spend months working to earn the car payments/full coverage insurance for new junk?

          You’ll spend less of your life maintaining an older car. But ego and shiny.

          Also new cars suspensions are invariably mushy IMHO. If I’m going to tune on it anyhow, why buy a brand new set of soft shocks along with the new car? Wasted resources thrown away.

          1. Only a Sith deals in absolutes.

            Listen, I understand where you’re coming from, I’ve historically held those same opinions. My car ownership to date has adhered to the principles you espouse, and you’d probably love my DD. I haven’t said once that one should buy new, in fact I said the opposite.

            Just because I said I don’t save half a car payment for maintenance doesn’t mean I have a car payment, quite the opposite. That’s just an insane amount of money to allocate to transportation for someone with other fiscal responsibilities.

      2. Your mention of CVTs compels me to note that I own a 2013 Accord with a CVT that is approaching 200K miles. Even in 2013 manual transmissions were rare outside of the sports genre of cars. I had some concerns buying a CVT back then but took the plunge. Almost 10 years later I’ve had zero transmission problems from this 10 year old CVT.

        My adult sons are both “car guys” and both can drive stick. My oldest opted for a 2022 VW GTI with a six speed dual clutch transmission as his first new car after graduating college. Technically this is a manual transmission car but there is no clutch pedal or stick to shift. It does have shift paddles but the clutches are computer controlled. My youngest, also in his early 20’s, just got a 2017 Ford Fiesta ST which is a 6 speed manual stick with a clutch pedal. This son is a purist when it comes to “stick shift” but in my experience he is an increasingly rare breed.

        Max L.

      1. Yes, USA. Looking at a random chart on google, manual transmission sales dropped below 10% around 2000 and is now around 2.5%. To be honest that even seems a little high from what I see. It makes the used market for stickshift very sparse.

  6. If my decade old Nissan Leaf is anything to go by there’s still a soul in EVs. The whine of the inverters as I push hard going 20->60mph sounds like a (quiet) jet engine spinning up. That might just be me though, ICEs never sounded like power to me but that high pitched whine from megawatts of electricity in a power plant does.

    1. I looooooove the (real) sounds the big power controllers make on EVs. The new mandated EV-sounds can be nice too, but there’s something viscerally appealing about knowing what electromechanics are creating the characteristic EV whines, hums, and what it means about the powertrain’s behavior.

      But that’s true for ICE too — if you understand the differences in engine designs and some of the sound design that goes into making the characteristic engine noise, you can see through the marketing-added musical accompaniment to the engine’s natural tones. It’s the same feeling.

    2. Also, many EVs have a one-pedal mode which is basically “engine braking available at all times”


      “Throttle response of first gear, but can hit 90 MPH without blowing the engine”

    1. 20 years. 90s Civics were the best commuter cars ever made. All the B engines have been riced to death though.

      Plenty left in non rust country, the good cars are already gone in road salt country.

      I’ve got my lifetime supply of good enough cars at this point. Pre 75 are best, because no smog check.

        1. I’ve got too many…selling the 64.5 stang. Keeping the 94 GT that tries to kill me.

          Considering taking it to a cancer country ford club, arranging a ‘Thunder Dome’, and putting up a youtube channel. Watch the fat old Ford guys eye gouge and testicle twist for a rust free six cylinder mustang! The bastards would demonetize me.

    2. For me, the sound of the engine is joyous. I don’t even use the sound system in my cars unless I’m on a long motorway journey.
      I also enjoy that I can fix most of the things that can wrong on my cars (and bikes) without a laptop and a bunch of spare sensors.

      1. All well and good, but I think its very fair to say that some implementations of sensor/computer ECU type things are actually really handy – don’t spend all day looking everywhere plausible for why x is happening, just plug in and be told the problem is here… Yes sensors can fail, but then so do mechanical and ‘dumb’ electrical parts and in both cases you need some skill or a spare to refurbish or fix it.

    3. obd1 tbi gm motors are the peak of design and reliability. I have (5) trucks with 4.3, 5.0 & 5.7 engines with over 350,000 miles all waiting for new auto transmissions. the first gen vortec are pretty reliable too but the injectors only last about 100,000 before they need to be replaced.

      1. Right on man! My main car is a 1989 Buick Park Avenue – well over 200,000 miles and the rust is starting to get to her. I have a 1990 LeSabre – the twin to the 1989 – with 70,000 original and it’s waiting in dry dock to be put into service once the 1989 gives it up. The 3.8L V6 weren’t bad at all so between my favourite V6 from GM and the V8 with the TBI in the square body and later, those were a GREAT mixture between complexity of FI and longevity due to overall simplicity.

    4. Wow, that’s enough rose tint to be safe arc welding with.

      Prior to 50 years ago, engines needed rebuilt every 50 or 60 thousand miles. Body corrosion protection was almost unheard of and in rust belt states you could see 3 year old cars with big holes in them.

  7. I own a Jeep Wrangler 4.0 2005 with a 6 speed manual. I loved driving it and would always change gears at about 2300-2500 RPM. One day I was watching Jay Lenos Garage (He just got badly burned so let us pray.) and he commented on how americans didn’t rev out there cars enough. (Shift at a higher RPM) The Jeep red lines at 5500 RPM. So I started pushing the Jeep to higher RPM. Boy howdeeee!!! At about 2800 Rpm the power starts coming and stays till a little over 4000 RPM. My Jeep is now more like a Ferrari!!!

      1. @HaHa Please explain how my driving style would affect reliability as long as all service schedules are maintained. The Jeep has 157,000 miles on it and I do all service myself according to the service manuals. I also failed to mention one other great aspect of driving stick is you can’t talk on a cell phone while driving, and no I don’t use hands free either. Leave a message and maybe i’ll call you back.

  8. Speaking as someone who has a couple manual transmission cars: I agree they are more engaging and given the option I’ll usually pick a manual (except in my truck that I pull trailers with). That said, manual transmissions in an EV make no sense at all and I can’t say I’d lament not having the option of it should I ever buy an EV.

    It’s just a totally different experience. I can’t imagine rowing gears with an EV would be all that satisfying: would the auditory experience even be remotely the same? Would being able to change gears in an EV actually make it appreciably faster? Does it technically even need a clutch?

    At some level it is nice to just be able to stab the gas and have the car do what you want it to do. I know in a straight line that can be boring, but as someone who has autocrossed I’d love a car that didn’t need to shift cars and had snappy throttle response at all speeds.

    1. Transmissions for ICE cars exist because the usable power band is a pretty narrow RPM range for the speeds cars travel. In order to exist at that efficient RPM an transmission (of any type) is needed. As far as I can tell, Electric cars do not have that restriction they are essentially direct drive from stop all the way to max. Diesel electric train locomotives don’t have transmissions either- the diesel powers generators that power the electric motors that drive the loco

    2. Its not entirely senseless to have gears in an EV, there are occasions it does happen as the gears still do what gears do and make slower/faster rotations at the wheel happen, yes with different torque but on the whole in electric that bit isn’t going to be important as electric motors have too much torque for the traction half the time anyway…

      So it only MOSTLY doesn’t make sense on the normal car like vehicles. Especially when to build them designed to get the design trade-off benefits a gearbox can give you is to create something that the markets rich enough to afford new EV’s largely don’t want, being automatic drivers… Plus adding a wear component when the rest is so much more maintenance free isn’t a good selling point either.

    3. Most EVs neither need nor have a clutch. The motor is directly geared to the wheels through a differential. (Unless you have a Rivian, which has a separate motor for each wheel.) That’s why towing them is a challenge; you can’t disengage the drivetrain. A two wheel drive model can be towed by lifting the drive end; an all wheel drive model has to be put on a flatbed.

    4. See…here is where I just don’t understand where people come from…on every automatic I have driven, stabbing the accelerator resulted in a flustered transmission that hesitated trying to figure out what gear it should be in and then a launch, where in a stick, I know I am going to accelerate so I put it in the appropriate gear. On smaller automatics, pressing the pedal just made it go louder. But if it was a stick at least you are participating when you press the go louder pedal and there is something to anticipate during the glacial acceleration so you don’t fall asleep.

      1. there are autos with a sport mode so you can bump down down down or up gears for these situations, so its not all that bad. Its what I do in autos just to make it more fun when exiting corners on otherwise boring drives.
        I am usually in manuals and shifting seems to be buried into unconscious muscle memory, when getting into an auto its quite strange to hold the shifter but do nothing with it

      2. My 2000 Nissan has an automatic, and if I floor it I get smooth accel on the peak of the power curve as long as I keep my foot down. That’s true on the freeway, or climbing a mountain.

        What you’re saying was true. In 1985.

    5. Arguably, an electric motor isn’t even analogous to the engine anyways – both it and its drive electronics are more like a transmission part, just mostly in the electrical domain. It’s pretty hard to get a mechanical transmission to shift anywhere near as fast as a split-pi or similar power converter.

      It’s all very ordered power getting transferred from stage to stage in mathematically very similar ways, unlike the conversion of not-very-ordered to ordered + highly disordered waste that an engine does.

    6. The Porsche Taycan proves that you can get a bit more efficiency and low-end torque by changing gears in an EV, but even a 2-speed is expensive and heavy enough that it’s the only production EV to bother.

      What is really nice is that with the right pedal throttle map in an EV, you can make it behave like an ICE engine in first gear minus that whole pesky “blow the engine at high speed” part. Let go of the throttle = full engine braking. Many EVs sell with this as a built-in option. (Bolt EV has L on the shifter, plus a extra-regen paddle.)

  9. The article about fuel efficiency is citing estimates based on the EPA test, but that test benefits automatic transmissions, because the shift timing for an automatic transmission can be tuned to the test, whereas for a manual transmission it cannot. (There are some exceptions, like locking out some gears at some times, but it’s a bit of a hack that still doesn’t provide near the testing advantage of completely computerized shifting.)

    For every car I’ve owned, the results on fueleconomy.gov showed a higher EPA test result fuel efficiency for the automatic transmission, but the owner reported fuel economy for actual driving showed that in reality the manual transmissions had higher fuel efficiency.

  10. The take here is simple. Either we get rid of fossil fuels and inconvenience 5-10% of the richest or we all die because of greenhouse effect of CO2. Revolution must happen, there will be victims but it’s for common good.

          1. The supply of used EVs is low; but so is the demand. It’s thus a bit hard to find used ones; but their prices are often low.

            “Needs batteries” is the common reason to sell. But the battery pack is fairly easy to replace; much easier than an engine or transmission. You can even do it yourself (this is Hackaday, you know).

            Used packs can be found in junkyards. For the more common makes, there are now aftermarket suppliers of replacement packs.

          2. The “used packs can be found” point is a bit moot, since the demand for these items is increasing with the number of EVs. There are more cars in need of replacement batteries than there are broken vehicles with functioning batteries to recover.

            The sticking point is the need for the industry to expand to meet demand. It also means there aren’t enough used EVs to satisfy demand either, and the adoption of these vehicles is still retarded by high prices.

          3. @ian 42 So far we really don’t know what the latest generations of EV battery – the properly thermally managed ones will do in the real world, 10 years is something more at the worst possible end of lifespan expectations – and we are starting to see 10 year old EV that are not failing battery wise. But there are so very many variable to how a battery wears out undoubtedly there will be failures in 10 years, but equally I’d not all that surprised if many folks can keep the same battery for 20 years and maybe even longer. While there is an age component to the wear that will put a hard limit on them somewhere its not clear where that will pan out being – all we can say so far is 10+years is to be expected, as there are many more 10 year old EV that haven’t needed anything yet than those that have (excluding all the accident write offs)…

            Yes a battery is a very expensive component to the car, that will be a big garage bill to fix – though its fair to say the ICE engine’s ain’t cheap either, and they also have a wear life and massive garage bill to replace/repair, as well as much higher ongoing maintenance costs – so which one works out best for your wallet on the maintenance front really isn’t a forgone conclusion, and for my money the EV generally looks to be the winner – less brake wear, tyre wear will be rather comparable, and basically no ‘oily bit’ maintenance at all. And with the way fuel prices are and likely will keep going…

    1. Just curious, how many people out there are pining for manual chokes and crank starters?

      Aren’t you tired of driving a car where you are not in complete control of the fuel flow?

      Doesn’t the car run better when you coax it into life with your own loving hands instead of jolting it with an electric motor?

      And these new fangled engines with their self adjusting hydraulic valves, they take all the fun out of owning a vehicle. Everyone should have the experience of adjusting their solid lifter valves in a rest area in the dark, it builds character. Esp if you have a VW beetle.

      And how about the old 4 wheel drive vehicles where you had to get out and flip the switch on the wheel hubs? Do people miss those?

      1. I regularly drive a model A with a lot of that crap you mentioned. It’s really fun. But I also appreciate my modern 6 speed sports car. Doesn’t have to be one or the other and if you’ve never driven an old car without syncros, you haven’t ever “driven”

      2. It’s been awhile since I heard it, but in the 90s it was definitely a thing that most of the people who insisted on a manual transmission would lament the lack of a manual choke, and brag about how much better their weekend car was because it had one.

      3. Flawed point – none of those involve *driving* engagement. I’ve owned maybe a dozen cars in my life, both autos and manuals, and have driven many more autos. I prefer manual. Why? Because I’m more engaged in the process. Driving an automatic becomes more of a vigilance task, which humans are terrible at, while driving a manual – even on mental autopilot! – keeps you doing more.

    2. Getting rid of fossil fuels is not so simple as some make it out to be. For example, what is the plan to replace plastics, lubricants, etc that are used extensively and pervasively throughout the World? How can one quickly migrate portions of the World that use fossil fuels for heating? What about energy production? Not all areas of the World have the infrastructure to support green energy production? Sadly, it is going to take time to find and deploy solutions to many of these issues.

      1. I’m actually all for getting rid of fossil fuels entirely. When people have no phones (made of plastic from oil) no clothes (made from plastic from oil) no houses ( made from plastic from oil) no cars (made from plastic from oil) no food (oil lubes farm machines and cars) no electricity (wire insulation is made of plastic from oil) no manufacturing (no lube for machines etc.) no offices (almost everything is made from plastic from oil) We will finally be liberated to live in teepees and eat forest critters and burn wood for heat and wear animal skins like the founding fathers meant us to be. It will be GLORIOUS!!!!

      2. I think you are just repeating anti-ev nonsense.

        Not to be pedantic but fuel as I understand it is a substance which is used for it’s chemical energy. So I checked over at dictionary.com before posting, they have an even stricter definition that involves combustion. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/fuel

        So what do plastics or lubricants have to do with eliminating fuel, fossil or otherwise?

        Yes, they both (usually) come from petroleum. But most of the time I hear people talking about getting rid of fossil fuels, not getting rid of petroleum all-together. On the rare occasion I do see someone wrote that I just assume they really meant fossil fuels or just don’t know better.

        I would assume that if the world switched 100% to electric cars overnight (not possible) then we would still be pumping some lesser amount of petroleum to make plastics and lubricants. And while there are pollution concerns involving that it doesn’t include burning them and releasing the CO2 into the air.

        But then what do we do with the parts of the petroleum that would have been fuel? Well, I’m not a chemist so please correct me if I am misremembering my high school chemistry. What I remember learning there is that the various substances that are separated from the petroleum can all be converted between one another via chemical processes. Sure, it’s more efficient to use the parts that are already closer to plastic for plastic and closer to gasoline for gasoline, etc… but we could just use it all for plastic and grease.

        Of course that conversion takes energy. But we were just talking about a hypothetical where fossil fuel use ended immediately. In that universe we must already have an immense amount of green energy available. So I guess the cracking plant is using electric elements for heaters powered by wind, solar, nuclear, etc…

        in the real world it will take longer to get there. But “no fuel means no plastic or grease” still makes zero sense. As more people switch to EVs those who can’t afford to will find them paying less for gas and diesel that is now under less demand. This will slow the process considerably, while at the same time making the “but not everyone can afford an EV” argument BS.

        In time less petroleum will be pumped. And a greater percentage of what is pumped will become plastic and grease. Until many years in the future when finally the fuel is just a specialty item for classic-car junkies and similar hobbyists.

        And then there are all the other ways to make plastic and lubricants. Might be time to invest in a hemp field!

        1. The shear amount of energy required to seperate the distillates in the processing of the oil is part of the problem. If you replaced the energy with wind or solar the plants would be hard pressed to produce. It’s the same with 1 simple item required to drive. Asphalt. There is an asphalt plant near my home and the product has to be heated before being sent to resurface roads. The natural gas meter outside the plant is not huge but the pipeline going into the plant is. I believe they only measure a percentage of the gas flowing and multiply for volume. If the plant was powered by electricity it would have it’s own substation next door. I used to work in floor care and had to go into the refineries to fix floor machines. What supprised me the most was the size of the natural gas equipment for gas being pumped INTO the refinery. Then they have a big torch to burn off “flare gas” and wondered why pay for gas to burn off other gas? So fossil fuel is used to make plastics and all the other stuff that is produced from the distillates coming out of the refinery. What is it you want to eliminate? The gasoline or diesel or propane or butane or natural gas or what? My dad used to work for a company that made brass. They electrically heat the product to melt it using induction heaters and yes the plant had its own substation next door. How much sun or wind will it take to melt the brass? One other problem is that if EV’s were to be mandated tomorrow the electric grid will collapse and we go back to living in the stone age. The bottom line is change to an EV world is going to take time and will not happen overnight and some chemical processes will always require fossil fuel. I truly welcome a time WHEN EV’s are in every driveway, the battery is the size of a suitcase with a 3000 mile range and the motor under the hood with a drive shaft and a transmission. Alas I think thats a looooooong way off.

          1. The grid wouldn’t collapse, as tomorrow almost nobody could afford an EV in that scenario. With that spike in demand nobody would be able to get one for months maybe even years…

            Then add in that even if a magic fairy delivered EV’s to everyone most folks drive almost no distance, so don’t actually consume much electric – maybe even less electric on their millage than the forecourts petrol pumps and all the ancillaries required to fill them up with the liquid go juice of choice consume. And even if its not you are still talking a tiny amount of power that doesn’t need to be drawn at peak times, it can trickle in slowly in the middle of the night, over that long lunch break etc…

            Yes big industry is likely to end up with its own substations eventually, quite probably giant onsite battery or capacitor banks to smooth their spike demands as they go electric. But so what, how is that really any different to requiring massive diameter hive flow pipe runs for gas? The amount of energy required for a process generally doesn’t get worse for being electric, so really your question ‘How much sun or wind will it take to melt the brass?’ is easily answered, much much less than it took when fossil fuel powered (way way less conversion losses and what is oil but long captured solar power)…

      3. Its not a fuel if you turn the oil/gas into a product – any more than the wooden desk I’m sitting at is. The raw materials COULD have been a fuel, maybe oneday their chemical potential will be released as fuel, but for now they are just goods…

        Also none of the plastics, lubricants etc HAVE to come from the petrochemical sources, it is quite possible to turn plants and animal products into any of them if you want to, it just takes time and energy. Which as a way to reduce global CO2 levels a shift towards natural sourced plastics makes sense – IFF your new plastic goods come at least in part from captured atmospheric carbon as processed by the plants you are taking CO2 out of the air and sequestering it in something that will last – hopefully last a very very long time, where just digging up more oil and relying on the bio-mass increases to reduce atmospheric carbon will be very slow (at least without serious help – as the lifecycle means much carbon is only held very short term).

        BUT and it is a big one the ‘faux-oil’ products can’t be pushed for to the point of mass ecological destruction – use some of the farm waste products as feed stock, maybe put a good ‘faux-oil’ producing plant into your crop rotations, but don’t go ripping up ecosystems and likely liberating more carbon than you can ever sequester just to plant more of whatever plant is most profitable to make plastics from…

        Also areas of the world that can’t handle green energy production generally have really really awful to none-existent infrastructure anyway – they can’t handle sufficient energy production at all! When you are starting from scratch, and with lower per capita energy demands building in renewables and greener energy isn’t really any harder, and quite possibly much easier to do safely than the fossil fuel of choice for most of these nations – coal. Coal on the whole is the dirtiest fuel going…

        1. Up here in the Great White North… contrary to your comments, we actually do have a reasonable infrastructure. Although we get a lot of Sun in the Winter the Sun’s angle and overall amount of Sunlight is low along with ice crystals in the air… which limits solar production dramatically. I monitor a number of solar microgrids and energy production in the dead of Winter drops to only 2% from that of the Summer peaks (98% less in the Winter). In the dead of Winter, solar is of limited use locally. So… to heat virtually all of our infrastructure relies on Natural Gas. Last year we had about 6-8 weeks of -40C and even with almost all buildings heated by natural Gas, the electrical provider was at max output. So… to those that believe that we all could migrate to heat pumps and still be kept warm, think again… the electrical system would simply collapse. Heat pumps can work fine, but not in our temps or not in our temps and be efficient. Ultimately there is not one form of energy that is suitable for all regions and so a combination of energy sources will be required… which still includes fossil fuels for the next number of years. That is not to say that we should not limit the use of fossil fuels, but it is simply not possible to migrate or switch to non fossil fuels in all parts of the World… and to think so is amazingly myopic.

          1. The original poster I was trying to reply to with that comment was talking about existing infrastructure being unable to take renewable, not if any one type of renewable is well suited to the geographical or climatic conditions. Your infrastructure already exists and is able to handle a very large amount of power transfer, it doesn’t entirely need rebuilding to handle renewables – quite possibly needs nothing done to it at all! The infrastructure in wealthier and vast nations is generally put in rather overbuilt as that is cheaper and even cheaper in short order than doing the whole project again when the first run is overloaded.

            Doesn’t mean all the renewables are suited, but find one that works and the grid already exists without a great deal of work to distribute it!

      4. Lubricants aren’t technically fossil FUELS since they don’t get burned. And they are a drop in the barrel compared to total oil usage. Petroleum-based lubricants aren’t likely to go away any time soon but they’re not the problem. If they were the only way we were using petroleum the world would have many thousands of years of supply, plenty of time to develop substitutes, and lubricant use doesn’t release greenhouse gases like combustion does.

        Plastics are a bigger problem. Some can be replaced with other materials such as metal, wood, or glass. Some can be replaced with plastics made from non-petroleum sources. That still leaves a whole lot of plastic to find a substitute for, and a lot more petroleum is being used for plastic than for lubricants.

        Eliminating the burning of fossil fuels will be a big step forward, and is the right place to start. But we also need to work on replacements for plastic.

      1. BS. Even California isn’t outlawing ICE cars, only new ones. The have-not’s will be driving their choice of used gas powered cars abandoned first by your 1%, then 10%, 20%, etc… just like if they have any brains they are driving used cars now. New cars are an investment for fools anyway. Years of interest to pay while the value drops like a rock. If you are poor and bought your care new I can tell you why you are poor!

        They will be enjoying cheaper gas as more switch to electric and the demand for gas falls. By the time it’s truly hard to get an ICE car and/or gas to fuel it the price of an electric vehicle will be down similar to what a gas car is today due to mass production. They are already dropping now.

      2. And those who are in truly difficult places, where few can afford even a used car.. those are the people that will be hurt most from climate change. They will be hurt more the longer the transition is put off. There’s your genocide.

    1. I dunno. Any hacker investing time & money on 20+ yr old game consoles or retro-computers would also likely be interested in old MGBs with manual trannies, no?

      We have a compact car with a 6-speed stick. It’s still a blast to drive. We also have a small pickup for towing the boat, and the auto transmission is a great convenience there.

      Of course, the thread’s become another platform for climate-change denial. We can do both: cut back on unnecessary or wasteful use of fossil fuels (eg stop doing the daily commute in automobiles, but still enjoy a weekend drive or a road-trip in a manual-equipped car.

  11. If they ever get the energy density for batteries up to 50 megajoule per kilogram (diesel is around 45) I will happily convert my dinosaur 7.3L oil burner. Its just hard to argue with a ZF series manual transmission. I’d much rather chase sparky than completely degrease the engine bay of road gravy to find a pinhole oil leak in a space too small to fit a wrench.

    All that being said, it is also hard to argue with the torque you get from an electric motor in each wheel and the advantages of not having all that mass on the chassis side of the suspension. If driving an in-wheel electric car were a bit more involved and took some learned skills to operate, I’d make the switch.

    1. Unsprung weight (which in-wheel motors would contribute to) is actually extremely bad for handling, you want to keep as much weight on the chassis side of the suspension as possible vs. the wheel side. Individual wheel-motors are a very good thing though, the traction they offer makes any kind of differential look like garbage in comparison. You just want them on the chassis side putting power to the wheels through CV axles.

      1. Well, today I learned. Though if we’re talking unsprung weight, I’d rather do planetary axles like on the Unimog than CV joints. Those axles boots are magnets for debris. Now that I think about, I’m kind of surprised Mercedes hasn’t cranked out a diesel electric ‘Mog by now. They certainly have the engineering expertise for it.

        1. You could do 1000 half shaft replacements for the price of one mog axle.

          Unimogs are so slow, they’d actually be a useful application of in hub motors. Just use the tire as suspension at 30mph top speed.

          My German cousin told me he had junked an old old mog and bought a tractor, I didn’t kill him. It was too late, I was just sad.

  12. Anyone who thinks driving EVs doesn’t take skill should load the VW ID.R and Goodwood hillclimb course into Assetto Corsa and try to match the real-world record time up the driveway, since it doesn’t take skill you should match it easily and never fly off into the hay bales, and then you can take Romain Dumas’ job from him ;-)

    EVs could still benefit from having multiple gears – they have an optimal RPM range just like an ICE does, but an electric motor’s optimal RPM range is similar to an ICE’s entire RPM range. Note how the acceleration of a Tesla S falls off a cliff once it reaches around 100mph for example – at this point it’s gone past its optimal RPM range and could benefit from another gear. Giving the vehicle a ton of excess power and gearing it high seems to be the popular alternative to using a gearbox however (see the NIO EP9 as one example).

    1. The limit in the EV’s RPM range is different to the RPM range in an ICE engine, though. There’s no technical reason that an electric motor can’t go much faster than it does in an EV; the frequency converter is just limited to a particular frequency range. If you want to build an EV that goes faster, you just replace the frequency converter with one that can go to a higher frequency – or, more likely, flash the firmware in the one you have since it is almost certainly capable of higher frequencies if programmed to do so. Introducing gearing would be madness for the complexity and inefficiency it would bring, not to mention the loss of torque once you change into a higher gear.

      EV speed limits are there because the rest of the car is engineered to a certain speed range so the RPM is limited in software to that range, not because the equipment isn’t capable of it.

        1. And dynamic balance of the motor armature, which is harder than just simple static balance. And you want to keep the outer surface of the armature below Mach 1. Older teslas topped out at 14K RPM. I think my Prius is about 13.5K on motorgenerator 1 (going from memory here, give me some slack). But yeah, torque is basically limited by heat. And wheelspin. :-)

      1. You’ll find it’s the motor and not the controller that has a limited frequency range – due to the electrical impedance of the coils and the hysteresis- and eddy current losses in the magnetic core materials.

        When you push the frequency up beyond the nominal design speed, the motor begins to resist the current. This is the so-called field weakening region where you’d need to pump the voltage up to maintain the same power output.

        You can design a motor that revs really high, but it will lack torque and become extremely inefficient at low revs, which then becomes a problem for an EV which only has one gear and spends most of the time doing 25 mph stuck in traffic. That’s why most EVs make a compromise and have a top speed limited around 100 mph to get better efficiency at low speeds.

          1. Coils. You’ve got to make a strong magnetic field to maintain torque, but if you have a low impedance motor winding with few turns of copper, all you can do is push more current through, which increases your losses in proportion to the square of the current.

            There have been some attempts at physically changing the motor configuration on the fly, like pulling the stator and the rotor axially so they overlap more or less. Attempts at building multiple sets of coils to switch them in parallel and series… etc. These were more common in the 19th century when transistor drives weren’t invented yet and people had to make do with switches and big rheostats.

            These days it’s just a simple induction motor that is built as a compromise between the two ends and driven by a vector control VFD to force it to behave. You could still get 15-25% improvements in efficiency at low speeds simply by having a second gear.

          2. Dude. That is a neat bit of history. Power components have come a long way in the past few decades maybe it is time to revisit the idea of embedding active circuits into the coils.

            I would bet Tesla engineers are thinking about this.

    2. One thing to keep in mind is that multi-speed gearboxes are a bunch of weight, more powertrain losses, a very large amount of money, and a common failure point. Doubling the size of the motor to compensate for not having a multi-speed gearbox is usually worth it in modern EVs.

      1. Tesla didn’t bother with it because they couldn’t make it work. They wanted one to have better low-speed performance but Borg Warner couldn’t make then the gearbox they wanted, supposedly it kept breaking down, so they dropped it.

        1. Point being, with the motor being torque limited flat by cooling and/or battery current supply constraints, the only way to get more power at low speeds is to gear the motor to run faster. That also improves low speed efficiency and makes regenerative braking work better at city speeds, which gains range.

          Instead, Tesla cheated themselves around that problem by overdriving the motor and the battery system with the “ludicurous mode”, with the extra voltage available when the battery is full, so they could still boast mad acceleration times without adding a low gear.

  13. A manual transmission is better than an automatic transmission, but the single speed transmissions found in electric cars are better than a manual transmissions in a gasoline car.

    Manuals provide better responsiveness than autos. Automatic transmissions feel mushy in comparison.

    An electric car with a direct transmission has much better responsiveness than a gasoline engine, and makes a manual transmission connected to a gasoline engine feel mushy.

    1. Still, the gear selector is effectively like a gain selector for your throttle pedal. It adjusts how fine/coarse your input becomes relative to the speed range you’re at. You could do that electronically, but nobody would bother to throw the switch.

  14. Seriously, with the torque an EV has you could just make a fake manual for people who enjoy keeping their hands and feet busy (that includes me; I’ve daily driven an EV since 2012, with my “fun” car being a dual clutch manual, but I still love the involvement of a stick shift).

    Like, give me dropping torque as the simulated revs rise. Give me the ability to “shift” into a virtual sweet spot. Give me varying simulated engine braking based on gear and revs.

    It’s essentially a gated joystick with some rumble packs attached and a pile of software. First vendor who does this convincingly will make many people happy, and they can pay extra for it too.

    1. That seems like a can of worms unlikely to ever be made by a mainstream company – gamifying their driving experience while likely making the efficiency and so range worse seems like its asking for legal trouble for no real gain.

    2. There’s no reason that you can’t have a real manual transmission on an EV. Most DIY conversions retain the manual transmission for simplicity. And there might even be a benefit, as some commercial EVs (Tesla Roadster, BMW i8) had a two speed automatic transmission, presumably for a good reason.

  15. I own a current-model EV. Both my previous two cars were V8s. I couldn’t disagree with this article more.

    When your main talking point for why a manual transmission is that it can be push-started…. well, I’ve got news for you: You never need to push start an electric car. The whole concept of needing to _start_ an engine before you need to _draw power_ from it is gone. As it should be. If there’s charge in the tank, you can use it. There’s a big chunk of complex, unreliable gear that’s simply gone.

    You might feel more in touch with your car and the road with a manual transmission but the simple fact is that you are wrong. A manual transmission is something that’s between you and the road and in an electric car it is simply not there. The transmission is there in a petrol car to work around the shortcomings of a petrol engine – that it can only supply reasonable amounts of torque once it reaches moderate speeds and its top speed is quite limited. The EV, on the other hand, can provide near maximum torque across its entire RPM range and so simply doesn’t need the transmission.

    People rave about the 0-60 speed of EVs and how fast they are off the line but that’s not what’s transformational about them in everyday driving; what makes the big difference to everyday driving is how fast they are from 40-60. Taking a six-speed Honda Civic as representative, at 40mph you’re probably in fifth gear and producing less than 1/4 the torque that you were in first gear. Okay, you might drop down to third to speed up but you’re still around 40% of the torque you had in first gear.

    The EV is still in its first (and only) gear and is still producing as much torque as it was when it left the line. This cuts the space you need to safely overtake a car beetling along at 40 by at least half.

    Citing studies comparing the efficiency of manual and automatic transmissions when discussing EVs is just laughable. An EV doesn’t have either and that alone eliminates around 10% of losses in output power.

  16. Yah, I have driven stick but I don’t think I’m ever going to quite get the fascination with manual transmissions. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy driving fast and I can get the satisfaction of feeling connected to the car while shifting through the gears.

    But reading through the inevitable comments on these sorts of posts it’s easy to see that most are looking back to their younger years. In my younger years I didn’t want a big stick next to me in the car. I wanted my date there with as little as possible in between if you know what I mean! Sorry if that sounds crude but hey, it was a consideration at the time in choosing transmission type. And from what I remember that was true for a lot of other people too.

    As an older, married person that isn’t so much a thing. (at least not while driving). But I still like to have a hand free to skip a song or mark a speed trap in Waze. And as for shifting.. meh. I’m lucky in that my boring daily commute is pretty much a straight shot and rarely crowded. There isn’t much reason to shift a lot anyway. Just point the car and go till it’s time to stop.

    So if I wanted to bring back anything it wouldn’t be the manual transmission. I’d bring back the bench seat and the column shifter. That’s where the good times were at! If you really want to feel like Bond or your favorite racer as you swerve between cars baiting the many speed traps there are always those manual downshift buttons they have been putting on the sides of the steering wheel these days.

  17. here in the UK, Automatics are the rarity…
    (it has to do with LIcensing. if you take your test in an Auto, you have to retest to drive manual, but pass Manual, you can drive both.. couple that with Manual is cheaper here….)

    but yup…. I don’t want to see shifting gears go but thats life..

  18. It seems to me that there are lots of nostalgia glasses here combined with the people who entered adulthood before viable mass-market EVs.

    To get a technical distinction out of the way, EVs do use gearing to drive the wheels. What they generally do not have are multiple selectable gear ratios.

    The evolution of Formula E should say something about the utility of selectable gear ratios in EVs.

    That said, Ken Block discussing the Electrikhana car has some interesting info: https://youtu.be/zsa-SxpiCU0?t=711

    The main point he brings up is using gearing to control wheel speed and limiting what the throttle allows.

    Is this same sort of thinking going on in the day-to-day driving of drivers with manual cars?

    1. > people who entered adulthood before viable mass-market EVs

      That’s pretty much everybody. There isn’t a viable mass-market EV yet to be found as they’re all above average and in the “luxury” price range in their respective vehicle classes.

      Take your Silicon Valley shoes off and take a walk in the real world.

      1. I see the whole discussion the same way I see LED bulbs. They cost a few dollars now, not even for bottom of the barrel ones, but decent ones that don’t hum and last years.

        Why wouldn’t electric cars get cheap enough relatively quickly too one day? It’s just a matter of engineering challenges and mass production.

        1. https://www.coxautoinc.com/market-insights/kbb-atp-september-2022/

          Assuming the data there is good, the average price for a new car in 2019 (before the supply chain issues hit) looks like it was right around $38k.


          There are 15 models at or below that range assuming you can get them for MSRP (another example of why the dealer system in the US is terrible). A number of those cars are well-reviewed.

          The cost issues with EVs are more issues of supply chain and scale. Almost all OEMs rely on 3rd parties for various parts of their vehicle platforms and the OEMs function more like system integrators than vertically integrated manufacturers. So lots of things have had to happen for EVs to get to where we are. Batteries and motors are a could of examples of big items. But chargers, battery control modules, motor control modules, inverters, safety systems (like HV battery cutoffs), and lots of other systems needed to be developed and made available to the vehicle OEMs. Those pieces are just starting to fall into place.

          1. When you count all vehicles as “cars”, i.e. trucks and SUVs as well, you get the $38k average price, but in reality cars – sedans, hatchbacks, compacts – sell at around $20-25k and the luxury models fall in the $40k range. The average “car” price is simply pulled by up SUVs, trucks and luxury vehicles.

            The distribution for new car prices is actually bimodal, with two peaks. One around the price of your daily driver, and the other with SUVs and other expensive vehicles for the rich folk. The average sits in the middle, and actually represents the top end of the “peoples cars”, or the low end of luxury vehicles.

            Then there’s also the other 70-80% of the market that cannot afford new cars in the first place… they’ll never see an EV in their driveway because they can’t afford the battery replacement costs, so buying a second hand EV is just not an option.

      2. The Chevy Bolt EV and Bolt EUV are close. Both cost under $30,000 delivered for their base models (which are pretty well equipped), and in many states tax incentives bring that price down. When they qualify for federal incentives again next year, the final price will be under $20,000 for many buyers.

        Chevy’s Equinox EV is planned to come out in late 2023, and its base price will be about $30,000 (a bit more delivered), which is closer to an average price for its vehicle class (the non-EV version starts at $26,000, which is in the same ballpark as other compact SUVs). With the tax incentives it will be much less expensive than its competition, including its own non-electric version.

        Of course, part of the reason the Chevys are so aggressively priced is because GM needs them to bring up its CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) score, and to meet its ZEV mandate without buying credits from another company such as Tesla. GM is probably losing money on them for now, though that will change as the price of batteries continues to drop.

        The base model of the Nissan Leaf is also in the same price neighborhood (base price of $28,000), but that model has a range of only 149 miles, too small for most American buyers. Even the more expensive $36,000 model only goes 212 miles, falling well short of the Chevy EVs. Unlike the Chevy cars, the Leaf is eligible for the current federal tax credit, so it is attractively priced if you can live with its limited range, but that range is keeping them from flying off the shelves.

        1. You can also get really good prices for EVs in the used market. I actually bought my Leaf at less than 10K USD because of all the FUD around the lifespan of the batteries. It’s honestly the best value of any car I’ve ever owned.

          Of course the used market isn’t quite as kind today, but just looking at the prices on carvana where I’m seeing prices between 15-25K you’re still getting a better value than a new ICE car

        1. “The least expensive 300-mile BEV is the Ford Mustang Mach-E Route 1 ER RWD – effectively at $44,000.”

          ” At an effective price of $25,875, the LEAF e+ is the least expensive EV with more than 200 miles of range.”

          The others are basically town cars with tiny batteries, yet cost the same or slightly more – even after rebates – than a comparable gasoline vehicle. If you just want a car, then a 2021 Nissan Versa would have cost you $15,855. The rule of thumb still holds: an EV costs a battery’s worth more than the gasoline car, or about $10k extra. With that price difference, you can buy 6-8 years worth of gasoline.

          It’s only after that point that you’d really start saving any money with the EV, but you have a problem: an aging EV is a hot potato you’ll want to get rid of before it loses its resale value completely. Nobody’s going to pay you anything if they expect a battery replacement in 2-3 years, so the savings you gained not buying gasoline are lost in the residual value.

  19. Early production tesla roadsters (circa 2009-ish) came with a two speed manual transmission. First gear was locked out, though. :-)

    You know, since the torque curve on the electric motor is completely programmable, you could put a multi-position, lever-operated switch down on the floorboard and make something that would increase operator fun/fatigue. Add a fake clutch pedal and you could make the motor pulse irregularly a few times and then quit if you forgot to push the pedal when you stopped. Play some engine sounds through the stereo, maybe come up with a pine tree air freshener that smelled like burning oil. If you can make traction control then you can make anti-traction control. Drop the kids off for school drifting, whether you want to or not. Ten settings from “Snow Cat” to “I double dare you to drive this in the rain”. Automatic burnout mode. Play simple melodies by quickly changing the rate of wheelspin. Hubmotors? Good. You can make chords now. Or four wheel, counter-rotating burnouts to pivot the car around the center of mass (for those really tight parking places).

    I mean, basically, you make a sports car simulator and embed it into a car. The new parts would just have the addition of sending some canbus messages.

    1. I remember the first gear was locked out because it was such a steep ratio down from the 14,000 RPM motor that they kept breaking teeth when the motor was being back-driven by the wheels.

  20. I drive a stick shift, diesel 5 series. A car most folks reading this probably can’t get or didn’t know existed. Big manual gearbox fan here. But this article almost seems like it was written to provoke comments, not to inform or advise. Please hack-a-day don’t wander down this road. You are better than that.

          1. The world population just hit 8 billion and we’re still at a 1% exponential growth trajectory. China is stalling a bit these days, but I’m sure we can pick things back up by throwing more humanitarian aid and capital investments to kick off economic growth in Africa.

    1. @denis Firstly I want your car!! Secondly Hackaday writers get paid for the number of words in the comment section. Only 3 comments total of 108 words it’s McDonalds for dinner. 97 comments tottaling 19,781 words it’s rent paid and 7 course meal for dinner!!! (sarc)

      1. While you’re being sarcastic, blog sites get paid by advertisers by the visibility of their ads, which improves with more site visits. It’s basically the sales tactic of the yellow papers, which intentionally try to make headlines and stories that make people angry, because it brings attention to the paper and the advertisers will pay more.

  21. Lets hope more car manufacturers will have manual transmission options for EV’s in the future, even if its not needed it has several benefits (like ‘fun’ depending on the car, helps keep your focused on the car/road, etc)

    1. I don’t understand, how does removing focus from the road to shift, increase the amount of focus you have? Does this apply to other car functions too? Should I be adjusting the ignition timing as I drive? Maybe I should be tweaking on the brake balancer. Bring back the manual choke! Or what about the windows? Maybe the driver should have all four window cranks in reach so the driver has precise manual control of the windows at all times. Heck, get rid of the glass completely, you are not really riding unless the wind is in your face.

      1. A manual transmission forces you to always be aware of your surroundings, at least peripherally, so you can be prepared to change gears up/down. What is the car in front of me doing? Is the traffic light about to change? Am I approaching a curve?

        Many drivers in automatics are not PROACTIVE in looking at their surroundings to predict changing conditions, but only REACTIVE. Manual transmissions force you to pay greater attention to literally everything relating to driving. Everyone benefits.

      2. Exactly like ‘Sven’ said, its because when you manually shift you need to anticipate things happening on the road / around you (cars in front, bends, stops, pedestrians crossing willy-nilly, etc) because if you dont you will either stall or create a dangerous situation, i get where you’re coming from (it does seem like a distraction if you just look at it from an outside perspective) but believe us, manual shifting makes you MORE aware of your surroundings.

        I feel like all new drivers should learn to drive manual, if they want to go automatic after thats totally fine, but it helps to learn this “pay extra attention” thing early on, so that later if you have some automatic gearbox you still anticipate on your surroundings equally, makes the roads safer for everybody.

        That said, i would love a car with 4 window cranks in the driver door, that would be a mechanical marvel

        1. @Sven This is what I was commenting on earlier in the thread. When driving a stick (manual) you don’t think about what your doing. E.G. The shifting part becomes second nature. You don’t stare at the tachometer waiting for a certain point before shifting. You can’t eat a burger while shifting, sands hands free you’re not answering the phone while shifting, It literally makes you think about driving. But not harder than driving an auto just less distractions.

  22. Lack of a manual transmission is not a “given” in EVs. It’s just that automakers think “automatic” is all that consumers want, so it’s all they offer (complete with “creep”, so it feels just like an ICE).

    I’ve been driving, converting, and building my own EVs since the 1970’s. In a conversion, the transmission is already there; so use it! You wind up with a faster, more powerful EV. An EV motor+controller+battery pack has a peak power point, just like an ICE setup. With a transmission, you can shift to get peak horsepower at any speed.

    Torque takes current, and speed takes voltage. Without a transmission, you need a more powerful motor and controller that can supply very high current *and* very high voltage to cover the wider torque-speed range. This adds cost and weight, and lowers efficiency.

    The transmission can also be electric instead of mechanical. For example, suppose your EV has a pair of motors. They can be wired in series for “low gear” (twice the torque and half the speed), or in parallel for “high gear” (half the torque but twice the speed) for the same controller+battery voltage and current. They can be switched by the driver with a “gear shift” lever.

  23. It would be fascinating to see the actual demographics of people ordering stick shifts. I, being of a certain age, believe that it’s probably all us old farts wanting to get one more fun car in before we die. I’d love to drive a Fiat 124 5 speed again, just as I did so many years ago :-)

    But then again we obviously aren’t the WRX target market.

    My current car has the manualmatic thing but if it’s not an H pattern shift it’s not the real thing.

    All said and done I’d far prefer to commute to work in a Leaf.

  24. I am not at all a car lover, I drive mainly because I need to get from a to be, although I love being on the front seat (but I don’t really care whether I am the driver or it is a friend of a professional in a bus). When I drive, I try to drive as economic as possible which also involves trying to avoid acceleration by not braking: I corner and take roundabouts at speeds that are on the edge and thus a certain mastery of the right gear ratio is necessary.

    I am Dutch, 90% of cars here are manual, and all cars I owned up to now were manual. My parents have had a few automatic cars (not by choice, just by accidents) and I have rented a few automatics, and I always hated the automatic, shifting at the wrong point leading to unexpected loss of control or being underpowered when you needed the power.

    However, every EV I have driven up to now, I have not missed shifting one bit at all; simply because the optimal torque ratio is so much more flat and does not lie in a relatively small band of the right RPM. I could not imagine what an EV with “manual transmission” would feel like, unless it’s an actual manual transmission, which is a totally unnecessary step in EV’s except for very specialist applications (I could see it happening in vehicles that need extreme crawling speed as well as more normal road speeds)

  25. “After all, manuals can be roll-started.”

    Not if the battery’s dead and the car depends on the ECU and/or electric fuel pumps for fuel delivery… Found that our the hard way!

      1. Nonsense.

        Roll starting is the same as using the starter. If it takes that long the cat is soaked in fuel anyhow. Which is handled in any case by the lean/rich cycle of modern FI systems.

        I have blown up a very old cars muffler once. Decades ago. Took minutes of cranking to get it started in the cold. Lived on the Missouri tundra back then.

  26. Gears are more expensive, inefficient, and easily damaged than direct drive. Expensive and heavy transmissions only existed because combustion engines have such narrow rpm ranges.

    I don’t foresee many affordable vehicle manufacturers going the route of more gears.

    1. Well, every EV has a gearbox, whether it is shift-able or not. The optimum RPM for electric motors is far higher than wheel speed; so a gear reduction is almost unavoidable. As a result, almost all EVs have a motor *and* a gearbox. The pair are smaller and lighter and cheaper than a motor with sufficient torque to drive the wheel directly. (And of course, many EVs have more than one motor and gearbox.)

      The reliability issue you mention is mainly a problem with automatic transmissions, which have become fiendishly complex.

      The question is; do you provide a gearbox with more than one gear ratio (i.e. a manual transmission), so that the electric motor and controller can be smaller and simpler.

  27. As a former owner of a manually operated 5 speed EV, I ‘shifted’ to A single geared (EREV) & automatic two step geared EV.

    I can attest, in an EV you may at max utilize 3 gears, 1st for breaking half shafts and peeling tires. 2nd for regular traffic. 3rd for reducing eddie-current & windage losses at raised cruise speeds. Some manufactures implemented all 3 modes in a single gear.

    1. I would imagine the greatest advantage to a 5 speed in an EV, is that you can do really aggressive regen braking, such that anything short of an emergency stop does not require touching the service brakes.

  28. never mind all those “out of control” T3slas that could have benefited from having a physical “neutral” instead of simulating a transmission in software (i.e. forward & reverse being running the motor in different directions)…

  29. Even with a stick shift, if you don’t remove the upshift light then you are just a mindless part of the machinery.

    If you shift at certain RPMs or by any other criteria, you are a mindless part of the machinery, you are reduced to a human 555, your behavior is modelled in electronics lab assignment #3.

      1. In a story straight out of Star Trek, people are being assimilated by their Borg-Warner transmissions. They feel out of place when they are unable to perform the tasks with which they have been programmed.

  30. Being in touch. I find our EV makes me more in touch, because it’s so much quieter. You can hear people much more easily in the back of the car; you can hear birds outside (or, often what people are saying in the car next to you in a jam). It’s just like.. being immersed in peace when you’re driving an EV. And the automation – such a joy!

    An EV is like – just stepping into the future. As a European (a Brit), manual transmission has always been the norm: Every car I’ve driven had it (well my Smart Fortwo was semi-automatic). I so do not miss having to think about gears, or the lurching every time you change gears. Even after nearly 6 years of having an EV it’s still a thrill just to set off in one after charging it up overnight at home!

  31. Speaking of which, I still don’t know why no one has come out with a gear shift lever / switch / doohickey that would let you select the gear in an automatic transmission as if it were a manual, considering it’s all controlled by the TCM these days. Retrofit a sportshift feature, as it were, but with actual range control instead of just Up/Down…

    1. Subarus with CVT, have a software simulation of a manual transmission complete with paddle shifters. Just push the gear lever to the left to engage manual mode. Mash the gas pedal hard and you can pretend that all that flat 4 engine noise is coming out of a Porsche instead of an Outback. Unfortunately the Subaru will insist on keeping all the tires in traction so you won’t be burning rubber or making donuts.

  32. In Namibia, even mini-vans had manual transmissions. Not sure whether the reason was initial cost or the possibilities for repairing them later. I suspect both.

    My work truck had an unsynchronized 13spd Road Ranger. I’ve done enough shifting for a lifetime.

  33. I love manuals, drove one every day in my service truck.

    I will not miss it in an EV.

    An EV is soulless because it can be. NVH engineers have been trying to make cars appliances and now with EV they can.

    An EV sport car will come along. Or buy an early Lotus Tesla, you can shift that too BTW.

    On the checklist: light, responsive accelerator, and high engine braking. And no unnecessary Android auto and AI cameras. Simple is simple. Wait for the next Koenigsegg or Porsche. Or see if Gordon Murray will make one.

    I feel this is a senseless argument; gatekeeping because of a manual. Automatics can shift properly and firmly, and pick the correct gear. They just do not on purpose, they are programmed poorly.

    The problem is really the tuning not the fact you can’t shift it yourself. Much as I love manual shifting myself. I wouldn’t care if most Automatics weren’t so poor at their job, and getting them to downshift for engine braking, forget it.

      1. You confuse me, the GMA T33 and T50 have a Cosworth V12.

        They arent even hybrid; although the T.50 does have a large vacuum fan. He is using it to tune the airflow, add a vacuum here or there can clean up the eddy currents etc.

        More to the point they spent millions on getting the feel of the transmission shifts just right. That manual, with a cosworth V12, I would gladly drive. Hope he comes out with an inline 6 version in a 4 door car I’ll never be able to afford. XD

        1. A few weeks have gone past before I noticed your reply. Now I am very confused, as I cannot understand how I came up with my reply. You are without any doubt correct in your assertion, but I am absolutely certain that I did my research that day, but now I have no way of backing it up now. Was it just a bad Google search day? Was I just very tired? I don’t know. All I know is that my reply doesn’t make any sense to me now.

    1. No need to wait for the next Porsche – the Taycan has been on the market for a year or two now.

      That said, Porsche is really against lift-off regen (aka engine braking “feel”) for some reason.

  34. Why not build *electric* cars, instead of *electronic* cars? As in, no transistors. Replace shifting a transmission with shifting the bus-bars in the battery pack, and control the motor speed via direct manipulation of either a rheostat or the motor’s brush position? The various regulatory bodies might not like it, but I don’t like them either so it’s fair. I have plans to build such a vehicle, and if you dislike how modern electrics are built, you probably should too.

    1. That’s how the early EVs did it. I once drove a 1902 Baker Electric, and while there was no shift-able transmission, it did have a selector switch to control speed and regenerative braking. It was actually quite smooth in operation.


      EVs certainly don’t need to be complicated! Many small EVs (golf carts, fork lifts, etc.) have very simple motors and controllers. Some have solid-state PWM controllers, which are just big power supplies with transistors but no microcomputers.

  35. Drove stick since 1986. Had a couple automatics in there… hated them. I’m commenting though, because Edmunds is full of beans on efficiency.

    I have a route I take to a cabin, maybe 100mi away. I’ve been driving it so long it’s muscle memory by now. Driven it with autos, manuals. Now, thing is, I know when to clutch out and coast in neutral, blip into gear when it flattens, etc. I know this route. I can get about 32mpg on a manual Forester with it, not much effort and adding in some stop-go on the highway merges, etc. CVT, never touches 30. No 80mph trip either, it’s about 70 max even on the six-lane highway piece.

    Maybe, overall, short trips and the 80% case of drivers, CVT is optimal. Sure, I’ll buy that, same way I’ll buy that any tool “good enough” is averaged out to be “better”. In skilled hands, though, some tools are unequalled. MTX is one of those.

    And I’ll just add one final though to the “feeling” thread: we are describing *presence*, not feeling. MTX drivers are “in tune” with their cars because they need to pay tactile attention to more inputs than all-electric-everything boxes. No amount of tight suspension or vroom-vroom sound effects are going to be equal to the feel of the clutch catching, the shifter throw, the expectation of momentum being altered when you take those actions. You think to think and plan ten seconds ahead of everyone else on the road — and that my friends forces you to be a better driver, whether you want it or not. Better drivers == safer drivers.

  36. > Any sports car (…) has a manual transmission, right?

    No, wrong ;-)

    Most current sports cars are sold with an automatic double clutch, at least in Germany. I was a real oddball among Porsche customers (according to the Porsche salesman) when I ordered my 718 S with a manual gearbox.

    Automatic transmissions, and especially fully electric cars, are simply far more convenient for everyday use – we have both in our household, and I love especially the EV.

    In comparison, my manual Porsche is a car that wants to be driven actively – especially on winding roads. I love this, too – and I like the stark contrast. If you can have it both, why choose only one? ;-)

    But I daresay this is a real niche application.
    And that’s a good thing, when I think of the majority of drivers out there ;-)

    1. Less so now than a few years ago. Double clutch trans aren’t fairing well in reliability.
      One almost bankrupted Ford. Granted those twits put a home brewed on in a Focus. Everybody else uses ZF.

  37. If you are actually enjoying your manual transmission as you drive, you are probably doing double the speed limit. This all seems okay and the car feels soooo good until you remember that speed limits are based on human reaction time and you will not be able to dodge the hazards that occur on our poorly maintained roads, you will not be able to avoid the small child who steps in the road and you will not be able to avoid the drunk driver who backs out of their driveway right in front of you.

    Speed limits are specifically designed to give you the reaction time you need despite the fact that higher speeds seem just fine.

    I used to have people in my family who drove fast, but not any more.

    1. Yeah. No.

      I don’t drive “twice the speed limit” just because I’m driving a manual transmission.

      I drive a boring “daddy car” – a small station wagon intended for hauling me, my wife, and the kiddies around town and on vacation. It has a manual transmission. The manual transmission is because that’s what was cheapest when we bought it. It is also what I’m used to driving.

      My first “car” was a 1956 Chevrolet 1 ton pickup. It didn’t do “twice the speed limit.” It was happy to get up to the highway speed limit – at the time, 55MPH all over the US.

      Where does your prejudice against people who drive manual transmissions come from?

  38. EVs are a crock. I’m still waiting for one of these youtubers to do a south texas to north dakota run in January and perhaps a Canadian border run from Minnesota all the way to Washington in January as well and see how well that goes. Better yet, do it with an F150 electric, with a trailer, towing something on it and see how that works. Even better yet, let U-Haul convert their entire fleet to electric.

    1. Looking at the Supercharger map, it appears you could do either of those trips in a Tesla without any major challenges. Well, not right along the Canadian border, there is no major highway there, but there is a string of chargers along the path of I-94 and I-90. The Texas to North Dakota trip isn’t too hard; there is no spine of chargers running in that direction, but you cross the paths of the east-west spines often enough to be covered.

      If you really wanted to cling to the border, it would be possible if you were doing it as a camping expedition; you could charge from the 240V outlets at the campgrounds overnight. But you would have to go only one charge worth of distance each day. That would be a really slow way to cross the country even in a gasoline car because of the lack of highways; if your goal was to get there from here you’d take the interstates.

      Doing those trips in a non-Tesla vehicle would be more of a challenge; the rollout of chargers is far behind Tesla’s. Doing the trips in the F-150 Lightning towing a large trailer (which would probably have a winter range of about 100 miles) would be pretty much impossible.

      Most U-Haul rentals are local; an EV would be fine for those. They’ll surely keep some gasoline-powered trucks for long distance moves.

      Just because EVs do not yet suit every use case does not make them a crock. The vast majority of car owners will never make either of those trips. And there are these things called rental cars to cover the rare occasion when they might make a trip that is not currently feasible in an EV.

      (I do not own an EV, or any kind of car for that matter. I did rent a Tesla for a trip from the Boston area to western Pennsylvania a few months ago, and charging offered no hassles at all — no range anxiety, no lines for the chargers, and every charger worked. Just a bit of planning charge stops, and the car mostly takes care of that for you.)

  39. This is very relatable. I am very much against fossil fuel use, I work for an EV company, and yet, the first time I saw an electric vehicle I thought I’m never going to drive it, cannot stand the lack of manual transmission. Solved this dilemma by not driving at all now.

    1. Still cannot understand this argument.

      Gears (in a car) multiply torque in exchange for friction and a loss of speed. Different gears are needed because of the small useful torque range of a piston/wankel engine.

      Electric cars have an excess of torque and a wide range of torque production.

      Combinatory that logic and it is unnecessary to shift gears in an electric.

      I would much rather complain about all the poor gear shifters that exist. If it doesn’t have one its quite difficult to get wrong. I am including automatics in the ‘get it wrong’ category.

      I am curious if I would be completely satisfied with a really nice box like the GMA t.50 or t.33

      I love shifting, been doing it 20 years now, but it isnt the be all end all of locomotion. I am just not aware of any good sporty EVs at the moment. Perhaps the Dennis Palatov 1000hp 4wd one that weighs about 2600lbs? I haven’t seen the numbers lately, but its fast and it is light. Although he does offer an LS2/LS7 version and has taken pains to ensure a propely designed shifter linkage, so make your own choice.

      1. I find this to be a fairly poor excuse to not get an EV. EVs are much more efficient than ICE cars so even if you are using electricity from fossil fuels you’ll be responsible for fewer emissions. But even disregarding that, most people are going to get their power from their local electrical grid, which gets their power from a number of different sources, and those sources have been trending towards renewables across the whole globe.

    1. If your EV has regenerative braking, then pushing it *can* charge the battery. It’s impractical to push it by hand; but you can tow it to recharge the battery. Many people have towed their EV as an emergency way to charge it.

      BTW, most EVs don’t suddenly “run out of gas” like ICEs. As the battery gets closer to “dead”, they just get slower. You can drive quite a few miles on a “dead” battery as long as you don’t mind just creeping along. It’s gotten me to some place where I can recharge more than once.

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