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%.
Continue reading “EV Sales Sticking Point: People Still Want Manual Transmissions” →
Reducing emissions from human activity requires a great deal of effort in many different sectors. When it comes to land transport, the idea is generally to eliminate vehicles powered by combustion engines and replace them with electric vehicles instead. At a glance, the job is simple enough. We know how to build EVs, and the technology is getting to the point where they’re capable of replacing traditional vehicles in many applications.
Of course, the reality is not so simple. To understand the problem of converting transportation to electric drive en masse, you have to take a look at the big numbers. Focus in on the metrics of copper, and you’ll find the story is a concerning one.
Continue reading “We Can’t Switch To Electric Cars Until We Get More Copper” →
Sales of electric vehicles continue to climb, topping three million cars worldwide last year. All these electric cars need batteries, of course, which means demand for rechargeable cells is through the roof.
All those cells have to come from somewhere, of course, and many are surprised to learn that automakers don’t manufacture EV batteries themselves. Instead, they’re typically sourced from outside suppliers. Today, you get to Ask Hackaday: why aren’t EV batteries manufactured by the automakers themselves? Continue reading “Ask Hackaday: Why Don’t Automakers Make Their Own EV Batteries?” →
Electric vehicles have become a mainstay in the global automotive marketplace, taking on their gasoline rivals and steadily chewing out their own slice of market share, year after year. Government mandates to end the sale of polluting internal combustion engine vehicles and subsidies on cleaner cars promise to conspire to create an electric vehicle boom.
The result should be much cleaner air, as generating electricity in even the dirtiest power plants is far cleaner and more efficient than millions of individual engines puttering about the place. However, if the electric car is to reign supreme, they’ll need to be built in ever greater numbers. To do that is going to take huge amounts of certain materials that can be expensive and sometimes in very limited supply. Thus, to help support the EV boom, recycling of these materials may come to play a very important role.
Continue reading “Recycling Will Be Key To The Electric Vehicle Future” →