How Many Gears Does an Electric Car Have?

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Written By Will S.

Electric cars are the vehicles of the future. Not only are they environmentally friendly, but they’re also fun to drive. But how many gears do they have?

Most electric cars have only one gear, meaning the transmission must consistently deliver maximum torque to the wheels. Unlike internal combustion engines, electric motors can have all their power and torque available from just one RPM. 

I’ll discuss this topic in more detail below. You’ll find, for example, that a few electric cars have more than one gear and that it’s not necessarily a disadvantage; in fact, you’ll likely see more multi-gear EVs in the future.  

Most Electric Cars Have a Single Gear

Electric vehicles (EVs) lack a gear shift lever because there isn’t a traditional gearbox. Instead, most have a one-speed transmission controlled by an intelligent drive selector system. When driving an electric vehicle, in place of a gear lever, all you have is either a button or a dial to move it forward or backwards.

Because electric motors don’t need combustion to produce power, they’re able to deliver maximum torque at zero revolution Per Minute(RPM). Electric motors have an extensive RPM range, with most EVs able to rev up to 20,000 RPM. 

For example, the motor in the 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid can rotate past 23,000 RPM, which is why this EV can attain a top speed of 200 mph/321.8kph.

tesla plaid

Therefore with the ability to create instant torque and transfer it continually along a wide RPM range, these vehicles don’t need to have multiple gears.

But as I explained in the beginning, not all EVs have a single transmission or gear. A new crop of electric cars is pushing the envelope further in terms of speed and performance. Let’s take a look at these cars in the next segment.

Electric Cars That Have More Than One Gear

With the advancement of technology, the next frontier for electric vehicles seems to be multi-speed transmissions or gears.

Multi-speed transmission technology isn’t new. Tesla dabbled a bit in it with its original Roadstar concept a while back. This adventure ran into reliability issues, forcing Tesla to change back to single-speed transmissions.

Currently, some EVs, such as the Audi e-tron GT and the 2022 Porsche Taycan, feature multiple transmissions, enabling faster acceleration due to more power to the wheels. A two-speed setup isn’t bad because it gives EVs an even longer range improvement.

You can see more about two-speed transmission electric cars here.

audi e-tron gt car
porsche taycan car electric

Electric vehicles are no longer just for short urban or city cruising. A significant portion of electric cars can be found on the highway, hence the need to squeeze more range from the motor. 

Therefore, if city drivers choose, they can opt for the single transmission, while long-distance or highway drivers have the choice of multi-gear motors.

It’s important to remember that two-speed transmissions are more cost-effective in vehicles with large batteries or high-performance cars like the 2022 Porsche Taycan or the 2022 Audi e- tron GT. You can check out a comprehensive review of the two-speed 2022 Audi e-tron GT here

For now, though, one-gear EVs are here to stay.


In the ever-changing world of automotive technology, electric vehicles are quickly making a name for themselves. Not only do they boast a much lower environmental impact than traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, but they’re also more reliable. 

For those reasons, the number of electric cars continues to grow, even though their number still pales compared to conventional engines.

Some of the latest electric cars to hit the market incorporate innovative features that set them apart from the competition. One of these features is their multiple transmission system. By utilizing two gears, the motor ensures maximum torque is delivered to the wheels.