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Reading about the new supercar from VW, I distinctly noticed when the author specifically mentioned shifting to "drive". I know the car in article is an automatic, but it got me thinking. Is it possible to have a manual car with an electric motor?

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Anything is possible. – hillsons May 24 '13 at 4:07

Of course it's possible, but in an ideal electric car, you don't even need a transmission with multiple gears. The electric motor has a much greater range of torque/speed output at its disposal than an internal combustion engine does.

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If I were designing an electric car I would probably have a motor for each wheel. No transmission required. Unless you want it to be a hybrid of course. – Mike Saull May 24 '13 at 2:28
Indeed, that's exactly the design I would do. Even for a hybrid -- the gas engine would just run a generator to make electricity, so in a sense you could call it an "electric transmission". I would also put the motors inside the wheel hubs and maybe even allow the wheels to turn 360 degrees for the ultimate parallel parking capability. :-) – R.. May 24 '13 at 2:49
In a hybrid design though I might want to have the engine drive the generator/motor then have an output shaft from that into a drivetrain. With this design you save complexity and weight from having multiple motors but I guess you add weight from driveshafts and transmission. – Mike Saull May 24 '13 at 15:12
The weight from multiple motors is offset by the fact that each one can be half (or with AWD, one fourth) as powerful and thus lighter, and the reduced weight from eliminating all the other mechanical parts. – R.. May 24 '13 at 15:20
That is still in addition to the large generator that has to power all of them we are turning a car into a locomotive train engine :p – Mike Saull May 24 '13 at 17:24

Actually, there was at least one such crazy contraption, called Flybo Total Electric... 4 speed manual gearbox, complete with clutch and all.

It was reviewed by the Hungarian Totalcar magazine.

To sum it up: the title of the video says "I'm scared of this" says all.

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