Why do electric cars only have 1 gear? This is the first of a five part series sponsored by Formula E, who I’ve partnered with to talk about the engineering behind electric cars. I had the opportunity to get behind the scenes at the New York City E-Prix, and was able to chat with team principals, hang out in the engineering rooms during qualifying, and even learn from this year’s champion, Lucas di Grassi.
So why do electric cars use just a single gear, rather than using traditional transmissions like you’d find paired with internal combustion engines? Electric motors can get away without numerous gears because they are high revving, remain fairly efficient across a very broad rev range, and produce a great amount of torque at low RPM.