Are All Electric Cars Automatic?

Young girl with sunglasses on charging her red electric car whilst looking at her mobile phone

There are several things you first notice when getting into an electric car for the first time. One of them is just how quiet they are when they drive. Another is the lack of a gear stick. In the UK we’re used to driving manual cars, but as part of the electric car revolution, it seems we need to get used to the idea of automatics.


But are all electric cars automatic? We’ll answer that question in this blog and tell you everything you need to know about the types of transmission system in electric vehicles.



Can you get a manual electric car?


Firstly, do electric cars have gears? Well, they can have gears, but they don’t need them as with a petrol or diesel cars. You can buy a manual electric car, but this is generally because manufacturers know that some of us might be wary of switching to an electric if it also means having to learn how to drive an automatic transmission as well.



Are electric cars standard or automatic?


While you can buy a manual - or ‘standard’ - electric car, generally they are automatic. This is because of the way they are powered compared to internal combustion engine vehicles, which need gears to help the driver accelerate and build up speed.

This is because of the lower rev range which needs the car to cycle through the gears to reach maximum torque. In an electric car, this is unnecessary because it can achieve maximum torque almost straight away thanks to a much higher rev range.

So, what are the advantages of having automatic electric cars? One definite benefit is that the lack of a complicated clutch and gear system means that they are cheaper to repair and maintain.



Is Tesla manual or automatic?


We know that very few electric cars have manual gears but are Teslas automatic? The simple answer is ‘yes’. All Teslas have automatic transmissions, so if you’re tempted to make the switch to one, you’ll need to get used to this different way of driving. But at least you’ll never have the embarrassment of stalling at traffic lights anymore!

The first Tesla model, the Roadster did actually have two gear speeds, though even then there still wasn’t a clutch needed to change between them, but today all Teslas are automatic.



Are all hybrid cars automatic?


As with full electric cars, most hybrids are automatic, but manual hybrids do exist. They are technically known as ‘mild hybrids’ because unlike other hybrid cars, they can’t run on the electric motor alone. It’s there to support the internal combustion engine, meaning that you can reduce your fuel consumption or gain extra power, but because the main driving force comes from the engine, manual gears are still used.

Full hybrids and plug-in hybrids are generally only available as automatic cars, and their rise in popularity over recent years has seen more and more automatics out on our roads. As we move towards a future where electric cars and hybrids will dominate what we are buying, the UK will need to get used to driving automatics.


Whether you drive an EV, or you are looking to make the switch, you need the right insurance to keep you and your car protected at all times. Compare car insurance quotes to find the right policy for you.