Will there ever be a manual transmission offered?

Will there ever be a manual transmission offered?

I realize gears are not as critical in electectric motors due to their increased torque, but seems there would still be a major benefit to having a manual option especially on curvy roads. It really comes down to driveability than anything else. As a sportscar enthusiast I am suprised one has not been offered, for many people this is a deal killer, regardless of whether it mechanical sense or not. To me it takes the spirit, experience and fun of driving out of the car.

Runar | 22. Oktober 2012

Have you ever driven an electric car?

RichD11 | 22. Oktober 2012

No. I can imagine though, probably like an automatic with instant torque...

Runar | 22. Oktober 2012

Nope, an automatic is sloow compared to ev cars. :-)

Try to get a test drive in a nissan leaf, mitsubshi iMiev or similar. I'll bet that you might change your regarding lack of transmission. It is just not needed.:-)

Try to get a test drive as soon as possibe, and get back with your thoughts on the subject.

Runar | 22. Oktober 2012

You can imagine a manual car, when you have optimal rpm on a certain gear. This state is the normal state on av ev car. Does this make sense? Or maybe what you ment, when you talked about automatic?

Jewsh | 22. Oktober 2012

I am told that regenerative braking gives you much of the non-friction braking you'd get from a manual. As Runar explained it is probably not needed on a Roadster, Model S or future Gen III.

Tiebreaker | 22. Oktober 2012


Electric motors have max torque at 0 rpm, flat up for thousands of rpms. See Model S options and pricing.

See this for comparing no gears VS manual gears:

RichD11 | 22. Oktober 2012

They have instant torque but it still peaks, and horspower still has an optimal RPM range. The Roadster I was interested in has
(300 hp at 4,400-6,000 rpm)
and instant Torque of 295 lb-ft at 0-5,100 rpm

Horsepower seems to peak at around 6,000 rpms, and although the torque is instant I'm still seeing a plateau at 5,100 rpms out of a 14,000 rpms redline.

I realize it is still capable of producing plenty of power, but there is also a driveability factor. To many car enthusiasts inculding myself, you get more enjoyment in driving a car with a manual transmission.

Tiebreaker | 22. Oktober 2012

Do what I do when I drive automatic: make sounds like wrooomm brraam broom and handle the drive stick.

Tiebreaker | 22. Oktober 2012

In numbers:

S with 85 KW battery: top speed 125 mph, 14,000 rpm.
Torque 325 lb-ft (440 Nm), 0-5,800 rpm, which is roughly 40% of 14,000.
With single gear, in speed it is 40% of 125 mph = 50 mph.

So there is full torque up to 50 mph: There is absolutely no advantage in shifting up to 50 mph. Plenty of speed for curvy mountain roads. And above 50 mph, the torque just starts dropping gently.

Shifting would only be beneficial in gaining higher top speed. As you can see from the video, the BMW starts gaining close to the end of the drag race. Tesla tried a 2-speed transmission with the Roadster, but the immense instant torque kept grinding the gears.

Volker, you can probably help with links to similar threads...

timdorr | 22. Oktober 2012

"No. I can imagine though, probably like an automatic with instant torque..."

Nope, this is not the case at all. An automatic still has gear shifts. The Model S doesn't have a transmission. It's direct drive to the wheels. No gear shifts, no loss in performance.

The transmission in an ICE is there to correct for the torque curve. Because an EV has no torque curve, there's no reason to correct it! You'd actually lose performance by introducing one, as the gear shifts will drop out your acceleration temporarily.

With the S's low center of gravity, awesomely low drag coefficient, and abundance of torque, it's actually one of the most high performance cars you're going to find on the road that's street legal!

evanstumpges | 22. Oktober 2012

The lack of a traditional transmission is one of the beauties of the electric vehicle. Smooth acceleration and deceleration over the entire speed range, no transmission gear box to wear over time (reduces cost and maintenance), and a more efficient power train without friction losses from unnecessary gears...

Brian H | 22. Oktober 2012

I think TM would possibly agree that 1 extra gear for higher speeds would be desirable, but until one strong enough to stand the rapid RPM change at full torque is invented, it's a lost cause. Maybe a product for the future orbital microgravity smelting fabs? Apparently some really pure metals and alloys have exceptional strength.

ggr | 22. Oktober 2012

All I can add to this is that you just won't get it until you drive one.

Fog | 22. Oktober 2012

I love driving a stick, but with a 0-60 in 4.4 seconds, I realize shifting is pointless. but it begs the question, if a smaller motor was used, could gears be used to run farther with less battery charge? would it still need a clutch? I can see getting 2 to 3 times more range.

Runar | 23. Oktober 2012

Fog; I'd think that it would help any.

An EV car is very efficient, 90% or so of the energy is spent in moving the car.

As no energy is lost, there wont be any gain in putting in a smaler engine and introducing gears. You would most likely get the opposite effect, you'd lose energy in the gear/clutch as more components is introduced in the system which might generate friction/heat. As you lose energy, you'd get a decreased range as a result.

The only way this might get you more range, as I see it, is a smaler engine=lower speed=less air friction=smaler battery needed=lower weight. Then you might get more range. But that is only due to that you'd not be able to drive fast, and since drag/wind is the one factor which use the most energy this gets you increased range.

You have the i-Miev and Leaf for this.;-) The i-Miev has a 16kwh battery, which is 1/5 of the battery on the top Model S, but the range is 1/3, the i-Miev has better "mpge" than the Model S. :-)

Brian H | 23. Oktober 2012

Runar +1

BTW, the iMiev isn't as useless as it looks. After Fukushima, iMievs and Leafs were the only vehicles able to stay on the road, and were used as emergency vehicles, etc.

DHrivnak | 23. Oktober 2012

After driving the Roadster for 13,000 miles and having enjoyed many manual transmission cars, a transmission is not needed. The driving experience is second to none. As others have noted try it first I think you will be surprised.

GasLover556 | 24. Oktober 2012

Well its not a combustion engine so it seems kind of pointless. I would imagine a cvt that manages to stay on the sweet spot the entire time making manuals and automatics history. I guess one way to make it more efficent is to add a spiral windmill in front, and chain alternators to the wheel somewhere kind of how like energy efficent dryers work. You could just add a small generator in the back that is running, and add a few batteries in parallel. Am I the only one here wish to smash all teslas like the EV1?

Brian H | 24. Oktober 2012


Runar | 25. Oktober 2012

GasLover556, well actually, no.. there are a few other short sellers here which try to talk down the stock.:-P

Except from those.. yes, your all on yor own.:-)

Vawlkus | 26. Oktober 2012

Most people here have more intelligence than that Gasbag

Timo | 26. Oktober 2012

I did read that as failed attempt to be funny. I mean how else you could fit perpetual motion machine, bad design for range extender, bad battery design and wish to crush Teslas in same message?

mjrickard | 29. Oktober 2012


I think the disconnect is about horsepower. The only thing that really matters is torque but we have been inundated with horsepower lore over the years.

The torque curve for the Tesla is flat out to 5800 rpm. The Horsepower range you note is because of the formula:

HP= ft=lbs * rpm/5252.

The torque is continous from 0 to 5800. But the horsepower noted rises with RPM. So it appears to peak in an rpm range. This is very misleading.. No power increased really. It was the same torque all the time, but counted over an increasing rpm it makes the valueu HP appear to rise.

It WOULD be nice to have a second overdrive gear to go to at 50-60 mph. But it is really unnecessary.
The speed limit is 70 and there is more than sufficient acceleration from 50-90 to get into serious trouble.

Jack Rickard

Timo | 30. Oktober 2012

Where are those torque curves/figures? I don't find them for Model S from this webpage. There are numbers for Roadster, but not for Model S.

jonesxander | 02. November 2012


LOL +1 for the "making vroom vroom sounds" comment.

TeslaLABlue | 03. November 2012

Ummm Never lol.

ikutoisahobo | 05. November 2012

Most electric vehicles are single speed, meaning they have one gear.

Transmissions are there in gasoline/diesel/CNG engines in which an engine has to run at proper and stable RPMs to ensure stable performance.

ikutoisahobo | 05. November 2012

Including the Tesla Model S

Fog | 01. Dezember 2012

so my 97 Jetta GLX transmission is toast. its making lots of noise and reverse does not engage (I think it broke up into parts and is floating around). the v6 has lots of low end torque and the 5 speed close ratio gearbox put the power to work. I loved the way the car drove, I love the clutch work and shifting the stick. driving the car requires a certain amount of skill. so I can't wait for a Model S, but want another car with manual transmission. there are only a few in the bay area to test drive...really, the local vw dealer had just 2, lots of shiftable autos with paddles on the steering wheel. in the next five to ten years, there will be no more stick shifts!

mrspaghetti | 05. Dezember 2012


I suggest you test drive a Model S.

FLsportscarenth... | 05. Dezember 2012

Yeah I am used to stick, but after test driving several EVs, I find that I can live without it. For us retro sports car fogies maybe they could make a variant of the new roadster with a manual, maybe a limited run of 1,000 or so. With an electric engine noise generator to get our juices flowing hehe...

Brian H | 05. Dezember 2012

Nobody can make a transmission that doesn't break under the Tesla Torque when downshifting. They tried with the original Roadster, and couldn't do it.

FLsportscarenth... | 05. Dezember 2012

Well I guess artificial 'rev rev' noises will have to do... I was mostly joking but did not know it would not work at all, thought it would be like 1,2 and D in automatics, first and second are not necessary but useful in select situations like heavy snow. So something the kids will laugh about it in 40 years 'hey I remember dad shifting gears to make the car go' like we churned our own butter or something hehe

jad322 | 08. Dezember 2012

one gear = no gear change = no manual

Stian Aarskaug | 19. Dezember 2012

I love manual transmission cars. And the fact that you can't shift in EV's is the only downside of driving an EV (if you ask me). It's the same with a normal A/T car, I don't like it. I love clutching and shifting, having control, and not sitting there while the car drive it self.

BUT, EV's are difference. 100 % torque at 0 RPM, they are "nothing" like a petrol car. And a transmission would kill many of the EV's advantages. In EV's you don't need transmission, it wouldn't do any good. And it would take up more space, adding more moving parts. Adding more weight, more parts that need maintenance and so on.

I love Tesla and EV's. They're awesome! And being 100 % electric powered is a huge advantage!

Brian H | 19. Dezember 2012

Not only would a transmission kill EV advantages, the EV kills transmissions. Too much power to handle! They just break.


Chuck Lusin | 20. Dezember 2012

The S does have a electronic transmission, right on the steering wheel. Three choices, P, F, and R.

tjp74 | 24. Dezember 2012

It's called 'shifter' or 'shift lever' not 'electronic transmission'

jat | 30. Dezember 2012

The other point is that higher top speeds (which would really be the only benefit of including a transmission on the Model S) would use up your battery charge so fast (due to drag) it wouldn't matter anywhere but on the track.

DoubleShot | 07. April 2014

I really like the Tesla Model S and am hoping that there is still room to offer a manual transmission model. Driving a vehicle is not just about how much power it provides. It needs to take into accout the entire driving experience and being one with your vehicle. Having a manual transmission provides a greater degree of control, even if that means giving up a little torque.

Tesla has some of the best engineers to have come up with the Model S. I am certain they can introduce a manual transmission that provides the ultimate driving experience without compromising power, and possibly improve the vehicle's performance.

Keeping my fingers crossed!

DTsea | 07. April 2014

You will never see a manual on model s. The motor spins much faster than an ICE so synchros will break.

Your ice doesnt have a buggy whip, reins, or a poop bag, either.

Earl and Nagin ... | 07. April 2014

What DTsea didn't mention is that, because of the flat torque line of the electric motor, a manual transmission won't give you any greater degree of control.
I suppose you could have specific speed bands assigned to the throttle (go-pedal) that you could shift between with zero throttle correlating with the bottom of the speed band and floored-throttle correlating with the top of the speed band so you'd have the whole travel of the throttle to control the torque within that speed band.
I, personally, don't really think that would help with driving too much but I've been wrong before.
You can't just assume the same things that help a gasoline engine will help an electric motor in the same way though. They behave very differently.

Brian H | 07. April 2014


I seem to recall Straubel suggesting that the 2-motor MX would have different reduction gearing front and back, so that highway cruising would "lean" on the front wheels more, etc.

Iowa92x | 07. April 2014

The idea that it is impossible to build a multi-speed transmission to handle Model S torque is false. Twin turbo diesel trucks put down double the torque of a Model S through a 6-speed transmission without issues.

So technically it's possible to build a heavy duty transmission to handle electric power. However, Tesla engineers felt the cost/benefit of multiple gears didn't pan out, so they went with the smooth simplicity of no shifting.

grega | 07. April 2014

One of the hybrids has a simulated shifter on the wheel to change down gears. All it does is boost the regen breaking (same as a lower gear slows down a car faster). That seems to be something that some ice drivers might understand easily AND perform a better regen control.

I guess you could use the same shift to simulate gears by boosting or dropping acceleration based on gear and speed, but apart from feeling like a gear it wouldn't add any value.

DTsea | 07. April 2014

E&N, you are right of course... but I didnt repeat it because it had been stated many times, and the OP didnt seem to be satisfied with that argument.

Personally the smooth acceleration is a lot better than the herky-jerk of gear shifts.

Earl and Nagin ... | 07. April 2014

I don't know how they will deal with the AWD. Will it have the same motor in front as in the rear? Will the rear one be geared for low-end acceleration while the front is geared more for cruising efficiency at high speed? I'm sure there could be ways to tweak performance with different gear ratios and a simple 2-speed might enable some efficiency benefit but it would be minimal overall and the time spent shifting would just slow down your 0-60 time.
I figured I'd repeat to save you the effort. I would like to see reins on the Model S. Steering wheels will never replace the feel of well worn leather reins :-)

NO2PTRL | 07. April 2014

I drove my P85 down Topanga Blvd to the beach today. Instant torque on command. It was as much fun as my Porsche Turbo but without the pain in my back.

With instant torque, who needs to mess with gears shifting?

carlgo | 07. April 2014

And eventually motors will go into the wheels, or actually be the wheels, so only a wire going out there needed. Get rid not only the transmission, but the driveshafts, CV joints, differential, etc.

A motor in two or four wheels, controlled independently and even serving as the brakes at some point.

Not bad getting rid of all that stuff!

That's the beauty of it. You don't need or want a transmission.