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Are All Electric Cars Automatic?

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Are All Electric Cars Automatic?

“Are all electric cars automatic” is a common question in today’s world of EV driving. Put simply, almost all electric cars are automatic; however, there are some manual electric cars out there. At Kia, our electric cars are all automatic to ensure a seamless, holistic driving experience, alongside the numerous other benefits an automatic transmission delivers.

As a relatively emerging market , there’s still a lot to discover about what’s going on under the bonnet and inside our electric cars. That’s why we’re delving a little deeper into the makeup of automatic electric cars, including their absence of gears and clutches, and how this can improve your driving experience.

Do Electric Cars Have Gears?

When switching from a petrol or diesel car to an EV, one of the main differences you’ll usually encounter is that electric cars have no gears or gearbox. This is because electric cars are powered by an electric motor rather than a combustion engine. The electric motor provides a consistent amount of torque within each vehicle’s specific RPM range.

As such, electric vehicles generally operate using a single-speed transmission that doesn’t require gear changes. A small but increasing number of high-performance EVs are also being produced with two-speed transmissions for greater torque.

Petrol and diesel cars use a multi-speed transmission, which means they build up power and speed through increasing revs. This requires switching through multiple gears that have different ratios for power output. An EV’s electric motor, on the other hand, provides a more consistent and efficient power output, known as generating instant torque. This means that electric cars are capable of accelerating and decelerating using a single gear.

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Do Electric Cars Have a Clutch?

Another difference between electric and regular cars is that electric cars don’t have a clutch pedal.

In a manual car with a combustion engine, the job of a clutch is to enable you to switch gears. As there are no gears or gearbox in an EV, there’s also no need for a clutch. Therefore, like other automatic cars, electric cars only have two pedals: the accelerator and the brake.

Although there are no gears or clutch in an electric car, many EVs have different driving modes which alter the way the car responds to your driving. For example, the all-new Kia Niro offers four different driving modes:

Eco – makes the car run as efficiently as possible
Comfort – provides optimum comfort, lightening the steering feel and providing a smoother acceleration
Sport – provides a sportier, more thrilling driving experience by sharpening the throttle and adding extra weight to the steering wheel
Snow – Optimises the traction control system and power distribution to handle the lack of grip effectively when snow covers the road

The new Kia EV6 also introduces a new driving mode, the i-Pedal, which allows you to accelerate, decelerate and stop using only the accelerator. It also provides the maximum amount of regenerative braking and helps you bring your vehicle to a gentle stop.

What are the Benefits of Automatic Electric Cars?

Here at Kia, we believe in harnessing the transformative power of electric to deliver the most seamless, immersive and intuitive driving experience possible. The automatic transmission and single gear functioning on all our electric cars is part of this, bringing numerous benefits, including:

Easier to drive – increasing simplicity and smoothness of your driving experience
Easier to maintain - with fewer moving parts, electric motors with automatic transmission mean less chance of damage or wear and tear
Increased efficiency and power - no clutch control makes for a smoother and more comfortable drive and removes the possibility of stalling

In addition to the advantages inherent with automatic transmission, our Kia EVs are also fitted with pioneering technology, designed for your enhanced comfort and safety.

Discover Kia’s Range of Automatic Electric Cars

At Kia, our extensive range of electric cars are all automatic. We are passionate about making the zero-emission, sustainable driving experience as user-focused and convenient as possible, so your switch to electric is as easy as it is rewarding. Our EVs are also fitted with an extensive suite of automated features to further enhance your comfort and safety. This includes Remote Smart Parking Assist, which allows you to manoeuvre your car in and out of spaces using just your car key.

Our Highway Driving Assist feature is designed to make motorway driving easy by keeping you centred in your lane and automatically adjusting your speed based on your pre-set speed limit and the speed of the car in front. Both these functions are available in the All-New Kia Niro and All-New Kia EV6 .

It’s time to read the world around you like never before. Explore our range of automatic electric cars

Images shown are for illustration purposes only and may not be to full UK specification. Features shown are not standard across the Kia model range and availability will vary dependant on model. For further details please refer to the individual model specification sheets.



*Fuel economy and emissions: driving range standards are calculated using the World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP).


**There are certain situations in which the petrol engine will automatically activate even when the vehicle is in EV mode. Examples could include: when the hybrid battery state of charge is reduced to a certain level, when acceleration demand is high and/or when it is required to heat up the cabin.


*** Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA)


Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) is an assistance system and does not relieve the driver from their responsibility to safely operate the vehicle at any time. The driver still has to adapt their driving behaviour to their personal driving capabilities, to the legal requirements and to the overall road and traffic conditions. FCA is not designed to drive the vehicle autonomously. For further information, please refer to the owner’s manual.