DOI: 10.3390/vehicles6010003 ISSN: 2624-8921

Battery Electric Vehicles: How Many Gears? A Technical–Economic Analysis

Emmanuele Bertucci, Francesco Bucchi, Massimo Ceraolo, Francesco Frendo, Giovanni Lutzemberger
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Automotive Engineering

The large majority of electric cars have a single-speed gearbox, because electrified powertrains provide maximal power across a wide operating range, and single-speed simplifies construction and reduces capital costs. Nevertheless, multi-speed transmissions have also been developed for electric cars, and some of them have recently appeared as commercial products. This paper aims to compare, through some practical examples, solutions with single-speed and dual-speed transmissions. In particular, given the very smooth driving of electric cars, for dual-speed solutions, a dual-clutch gearbox was considered. Finally, a continuously variable transmission (CVT) was also used. Different solutions were analyzed from a technical–economic point of view, based on a simulation of the vehicle under standardized driving cycles, thus evaluating the capital and running electricity costs. The obtained results show that the comparison between the two solutions is very open, and in the majority of cases, the advantages in terms of efficiency overcome the disadvantages due to the additional capital costs. For a rather low battery cost of 150 €/kWh, the total cost reduction moves from about 100–150 € up to 1500–2000 €, depending on the electricity cost, along the whole vehicle lifespan.

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