A closeup photo of a Tesla steering wheel with the gears in view.

Are all EVs automatic?

There's a simple answer to this question, but more to the topic!
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Ok, the short answer is - yes! But if you want to learn more, keep reading.

Is every single EV on the market automatic? 

The vast majority of consumer electric vehicles (EVs) on the market today are automatic. This is largely due to the nature of electric motors, which provide a consistent power output across a wide range of speeds, eliminating the need for manual gear shifting. 

However, you'd still see a familiar gearstick, which you've probably seen in other automatic cars. It's for switching from Parking to Drive, Reverse or Neutral. The driving experience closely resembles that of traditional petrol or diesel cars. 

Do EVs have gears or a clutch?

In a traditional sense, no, electric vehicles do not have a clutch or multiple gears. The electric motor in an EV delivers power directly to the wheels, providing consistent torque across a wide range of speeds. This eliminates the need for a multi-speed gearbox that you'd find in a petrol or diesel car. That's why you'll find just two pedals in an electric car: the accelerator and the brake.

However, many EVs do feature a mode selector that allows you to adjust the car's performance characteristics. For example, you might choose an 'Eco' mode for more efficient driving or a 'Sport' mode for a more responsive, performance-oriented drive.

Are Tesla cars manual or automatic?

Tesla's lineup of cars does not include any models with manual transmission. The earlier Tesla Roadster models featured two forward gear speeds, but no clutch was necessary.

The electric motors in Tesla vehicles deliver power directly to the wheels without the need for a traditional transmission. This design allows for smooth, seamless acceleration from a standstill up to the vehicle's top speed. It's part of what gives Tesla vehicles their renowned quick acceleration and smooth driving experience.

So does that mean EVs are cheaper to maintain?

Generally speaking, electric vehicles tend to be cheaper to maintain than their petrol or diesel counterparts. The simplicity of the electric motor and single-speed transmission means less labour and fewer replacement parts and fluids.

Additionally, the absence of a traditional gearbox or clutch, which can be expensive to repair or replace, contributes to lower maintenance costs. 

The cost of a clutch kit usually ranges from £150 to over £500 and typically includes a pressure plate, drive plate, and release bearing.

While a gearbox could cost anything between £150 and £450, depending on your car and the severity of the damage.

What about passing my UK driving test in an EV?

You can take your driving test in the UK using an electric vehicle.

However, it's important to be aware that if you pass your test in an automatic vehicle,  you'll receive an automatic licence, which only permits you to drive an automatic car. Suppose you want the flexibility to drive both manual and automatic cars. In that case, you must pass your test in a manual car.

You might still have questions or concerns or want to experience driving an EV before making a long-term commitment.

That's where electric car subscriptions come in. These services allow you to use an electric vehicle for as long as you want (typically with a one-month commitment). It's a bit like a long-term rental but with more flexibility. You can try out different models, get a feel for the electric driving experience, and see how well an EV fits into your lifestyle without committing to ownership.

So, a subscription could be the perfect solution if you're curious about electric vehicles but not quite ready to buy. Check out the latest EVs here!

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