When it comes to gearboxes in battery-electric vehicles, the more may be the merrier. That's one theory, and Plug In Cars says that the standard, single-gear EV configuration may eventually go by the wayside as engineers figure out how to better use multi-gear configurations to improve performance and range. It's an argument we've heard time and time and time again, but the added weight and complexity of a transmission means it's not been a popular choice in real-world used.
Tesla looked at but decided against multi-speed transmissions for the Roadster, for example, but now we're hearing the multi-speed story all over again. The Audi E-Tron plug-in hybrids and the Furtiv e-GT electric super car from French company Exagon Motors, for example, are two examples of plug-in vehicles that will use multiple gears in their powertrains. The newest version of the E-Tron has six gears, meaning that the car can travel at highway speeds without substantially compromising driving range. Exagon actually has two electric motors with two gears each and a shifting system that allows for gear changes without an interruption in torque flow. Read more about multi-speed transmissions and EVs over on Plug In Cars.
As it is, the Audi Sportback E-Tron has 204 horsepower and can reach 80 miles per hour on battery power alone. The car can also go about 31 miles in all-electric mode, though certainly not doing 80. Top speed is 138 mph. Check out Autoblog's Quick Spin with the 2015 Audi A3 Sportback E-Tron here.
Exagon showed off the most recent version of its EV at the Geneva Motor Show last March. That car's two electric motors combine for 402 horsepower in a car that can hit 155 mph. The Furtiv-eGT can also go from 0 to 62 mph in about 3.5 seconds. All for the low, low price of $475,000.