Are Electric Cars Automatic or Manual?
The majority of electric cars are automatic, as they do not need a clutch or gears to power the vehicle. In fact, most electric cars are single-speed and deliver constant and instant power. You will find just two pedals in an electric car: the accelerator and brake.  

Whilst automatic might be a different setup to what you’re used to, there are many benefits of driving automatic in an electric car. Read on to discover why electric vehicles are automatic and how they work.

As most electric cars are automatic and do not require a clutch, they also do not need gears. Whilst petrol or diesel engines need multiple gears with different ratios to build up power through revs, electric cars provide a consistent amount of power (torque).


This is befcause the electric motor in an electric vehicle (EV) has a constant power output regardless of rotation speed.


So, when you first step into an electric car, you may be surprised to find just a switch button, allowing you to select drive, park or reverse. But, although you may not have gears in an EV, you can change the way the car responds and drives with driving modes. For instance, in the DS 3 CROSSBACK E-TENSE, you can use 'Sport' mode to gain more power and performance. Whilst 'Eco' mode drives the car efficiently to cover more miles.

Do electric cars have reverse gear?

As electric cars don’t have traditional gears, you may be wondering how to put one into reverse. 

While they do not have a ‘reverse gear’ specifically, an EV has a ‘reverse switch’ that is designed to look like a gear selector. This reverses the car just like any normal vehicle, so there is no difference in function. 

Can I drive an electric vehicle with an automatic licence?

You can drive them with both an automatic and a manual licence. However, it’s worth noting that if you pass your driving test in an automatic, such as an electric car, you will only be legally allowed to drive in automatic vehicles, due to the licence you hold. 

Advantages of automatic EV's

Even if you’re used to driving a manual, you’ll find that there are many benefits of an automatic electric car. They are easier to drive, much cheaper to maintain as there are fewer parts with no gearbox and deliver instant power and efficiency.   

Easier to drive

Automatic electric cars do not have a clutch or gears to think about whilst driving, which makes driving an EV much easier compared to manuals. If you’re a learner driver and wanted to drive an EV after you pass, you could take advantage of a more straightforward driving experience by learning in an automatic. This also means you can focus on the essentials of safe driving, such as speed and road position.  

Additionally, with EVs being simpler to drive, this can be especially beneficial for people with a disability or limited mobility

Cheaper Maintenance costs

In general, EVs have far fewer moving parts, meaning fewer items to fix or replace if anything goes wrong. Not only that, but an electric car’s setup is quite straightforward, hence servicing is simpler and cheaper. 


The biggest difference with an automatic electric car is that there isn’t a gearbox or clutch system, both can be costly to repair due to their complexities, so owners will save in this sense, too. 

Insant power

Electric cars can accelerate much quicker from a standstill than petrol or diesel cars. With an EV there's no gear change required, thus the power is delivered seamlessly to the wheels for instant power (torque). For example, the fully electric, DS 3 CROSSBACK E-TENSE can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 8.7 seconds. Whereas the internal combustion engine model, DS 3 CROSSBACK, takes 11.4 seconds.


An automatic electric car is efficient for many reasons, firstly, without a gearbox in an automatic, you can seamlessly change between speeds without the stuttering of switching gears. 

Additionally, if you're driving in cities, or traffic, pressing the clutch and changing gears can become tiresome in a manual. However, in an EV the automatic set up removes that chore for smooth driving. What's more, every time you stop and start, this turns kinetic energy into electricity (regenerative braking) which is used to charge your battery and improve efficiency.