The simple answer is that yes, all the electric cars you can buy from Eden Motor Group today are automatic. Once you have made the switch you will never need to pump a clutch in a traffic jam, struggle with a hill start or stir a gear lever again. You can give your left foot a rest.
This is possible because electric motors are ‘turned off’ and don’t spin when you are stationary, unlike a petrol or diesel. So there is no need for a clutch to disengage the engine from the wheels. You’ll never be able to stall an electric car either
But the motors produce all of their pulling power as soon as you press the accelerator, which makes them far more flexible. It means you don’t have to rev them to go quickly or get up a hill, but they can also spin at the high speeds necessary to travel quickly on the motorway.
These electric motors are more efficient too, as they don’t have to transmit their power through a series of gears which can sap power and increase friction losses. It also makes them much simpler and cheaper to maintain, as there are no clutches to replace or transmission fluids to change.
While electric cars don’t have traditional gears, there are some more advanced options which make them feel more familiar to drivers. One of these – the ‘B’ mode in electric cars made by Peugeot, Vauxhall, Hyundai, Mazda, or Mazda and the ‘Kers’ function in an MG EV has a double benefit.
With this engaged, the car’s motor will switch to become a generator as soon as you lift off the accelerator pedal, which means it uses the energy which is usually wasted when you brake to put power back into the battery. Besides making your energy go further, it also feels very similar to lifting off the throttle in a low gear in a conventional car, or changing down manually in an automatic.
This may take some getting used to initially, but EV drivers soon learn to love the ‘B’ mode. Models such as the Mazda MX-30 actually have ‘paddles’ behind the steering wheel which allow you to vary the amount of braking effort you feel when you’re using the regeneration mode, making it feel even more like a gearbox!
The only downside of the lack of gearbox in an electric car is for learner drivers. They’ll not be able to take their test in an EV and get a licence which allows them to drive a manual car. But most drivers would say they’ll never need to drive a manual anyway as the future is undoubtedly electric!