We could go around the houses to answer this question, but let's keep it simple....yes!
Most electric cars are automatic, and likely will be in the future.
Here's the science bit
Not only are electric cars missing a clutch and various gears, but the braking system is different too. Regenerative brakes are used, which convert the heat produced from your vehicle’s brakes back into energy for the vehicle’s battery to use.
Electric cars have just one gear because they have a flat torque curve. In other words, the torque from an electric motor is the same at 1 rev as it is at 10,000 revs.
The reason an internal combustion engine powered vehicle requires a gearbox is that its engine torque is relative to revs. A multi-speed gearbox is required to keep the engine in the desired operating range, to deliver the torque required at different stages of acceleration, cruising, climbing hills and so on. When you change down, you are selecting a lower gear to place the engine at higher revs where more torque is available for accelerating, or for lower speed work where the engine would otherwise stall.
An automatic car is operating the multi-speed transmission for you. A manual car requires manual selection of the gears via a gear stick and levers that push and pull the gear selectors inside the gearbox. An electric car does have a transmission, but it contains a single reduction gear to reduce the high revolutions of an electric motor to the lower rpm used to turn the vehicle wheels.
Since an 'auto' is an automatic multi-speed transmission, technically, electric cars are not "autos" at all, because they do not have a multi-speed transmission. But manufacturers now sometimes use the word 'auto' simply to indicate that you don't have to change gears.
Is an automatic car easier to drive than a manual?
An automatic car is easier to drive as you simply put it in 'D' and off you go! Depsite the rise in the number of electric cars on our roads and the pledge to go electric only in the next 10 years, just 11% of learners chose automatic only, in the UK in the past year.* This figure has risen by 5% in the last 5 years however.
If you learn to drive in an automatic it is often more expensive, harder to find an instructor and most importantly you will not be permitted to drive a manual car. Whereas if you pass your test in a manual, the automatic option is open to you. It will be interesting to see how trends change in the next 5 to 10 years.
To check out our latest electric car leasing offers please click here.