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Why Do Electric Cars Have a Single Gear Ratio?

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2019 Kia Niro EV Single Gear Ratio

Photo: YouTube

Electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular, but you might have notices that all EVs only have a single gear ratio. They give the option between rear, neutral, drive, and park but nothing else. Why don’t electric vehicles use multiple gears like other vehicles?

Well, multiple gears are a limit of internal combustion engines. While idling at a stop sign, the powertrain needs to be disconnected from the engine. An internal combustion engine also needs multiple gears to be able to reach varying top speeds while allowing the engine to produce an adequate amount of power to remain running.

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This all involves math with rates such as RPMs, gear ratios, and top speeds.

To summarize this lengthy process, electric engines have a much greater RPM range than combustion engines. These engines also deliver peak power outputs over a broader range. Instead of creating multiple gears, which adds extra work to an already streamlined system, the vehicle engineers choose an optimal gear ratio that provides a happy combination of acceleration and top speed.

It’s possible to have multiple gears for an electric vehicle, but unless you’re racing professionally it doesn’t make much sense for EVs on the public side to have more than one.

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As EVs become more and more common on the roads, we’ll probably see a drop in multiple gears in the future even though they probably won’t disappear entirely. The feel and noticeable change in power by shifting gears is too satisfying.

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