Do Electric Cars Have Transmissions?

2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE an all-electric sedan

The popularity of electric vehicles continues to grow. Plenty of new models are under development and coming out soon, making for an exciting time for many Providence drivers. If you’re interested in buying an EV, like a brand-new Mercedes-EQ, it’s probably because you want a vehicle to save fuel expenses over the lifetime of owning your vehicle. While not having to fill up at the pump is certainly a highlight of EVs, another perk of ownership is worrying less about regular maintenance.



You’ll still need to schedule a service appointment with an electric vehicle at Mercedes-Benz of Warwick every once in a while, even though there are fewer moving parts and fewer fluids to worry about. So, do electric cars have a transmission? Yes, they do. There are fewer moving parts in an EV compared to internal combustion engines, but they still do have a transmission. Transmissions in EVs are different from the transmissions found in their internal combustion cousins. Learn more about the transmission and gears on an electric car in this brief guide from Mercedes-Benz of Warwick!

How Many Gears Are On Electric Cars?

Why are EV transmissions so different? Because an electric motor can produce near-instantaneous torque, unlike an internal combustion engine where the torque depends on the gear selection and speed of the vehicle. Because of this, there’s no need to “rev” the engine to make peak power during your East Greenwich drives or if you’re heading uphill for a weekend getaway outside of Warwick.

So, what does this mean for gears on electric cars? It means that most electric car transmissions have just one single speed. There are no 8-speed or 10-speed automatic transmissions on EVs. You can harness all of the power in your vehicle as soon as you step on the accelerator. In fact, many EVs have faster 0-60 times than their internal combustion cousins. See how an electric vehicle powertrain works:

  1. When you step on the accelerator, electricity goes from the battery to the electric motor. The motor spins like a turbine you find in electrical power plants.
  2. As the motor spins, it also spins the gearbox along the same axis. The gearbox is what most drivers refer to when they’re talking about the transmission in an electric vehicle.
  3. As the electric motor and gearbox spin together, your EV will begin to move. Some electric motors can rotate up to 20,000 rpm. By contrast, most internal combustion engines on a vehicle only rotate up to 7,000 rpm. That’s how EVs can accelerate faster if needed. There are only two spinning points, one on each end of the turbine-like cylindrical motor as opposed to hundreds of moving parts with pistons, gears, shafts, and such with an internal combustion engine.
  4. When you put your electric vehicle in reverse, the electric motor essentially spins backward. Meanwhile, an internal combustion engine has a separate gear in the transmission to move in reverse.

Do You Have To Maintain Electric Car Transmissions?

Many Cranston drivers love not having to take their EVs in for maintenance as often as internal combustion cars and SUVs. No internal combustion engine means no engine oil to worry about, thus eliminating the need for oil changes. However, since electric vehicles do have transmissions, will you still need to maintain them? The short answer is yes. Electric vehicles have a single-speed transmission, but you’ll still need to maintain it depending on your specific model.

Some EVs actually have transmission fluid that needs changing at recommended intervals as noted in your owner’s manual. However, not all electric cars have transmission fluid. We suggest you reference your owner’s manual for specifics. You can also contact our service department if you’re unsure about maintaining your EV transmission.

Test Drive an Electric Vehicle Today at Mercedes-Benz of Warwick!

Ready to cruise on Warwick roads in style without those pesky carbon emissions or regular oil changes? Contact us to schedule a test drive. We’re happy to help in any way we can! Want more information? Read about some service tips and tricks from our team at Mercedes-Benz of Warwick.


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