The new Audi RS e-tron GT is a bit of an overachiever, when it comes to straight-line acceleration. While it might not have as much power as a Tesla Model S Plaid or Porsche Taycan Turbo S, it can still acceleration to 60 mph in under three seconds. But then, unlike most Teslas, the Audi RS e-tron GT doesn’t run out of puff at higher speeds and can still accelerate hard after 100 mph. One of the reasons it can do that is also one of the most unknown aspects of the car — it has a two-speed transmission.
Almost all EVs have a one-speed gearbox, as electric cars don’t really need a conventional transmission and therefore have no need for more than one gear. However, Audi and Porsche decided to add a two-speed transmission to the rear electric motor of both the RS e-tron GT and Taycan, respectively. That two-speed transmission allows the Audi RS e-tron GT to launch in first gear, giving it better acceleration than it normally would without the transmission. Then, once it’s hit an appropriate speed, it will shift up into second, giving it longer legs at the top end.
In this new video from Engineering Explained, you get to learn about Audi’s two-speed transmission and how it works. Additionally, you also get to learn about fake manual transmissions, which is an idea Toyota is working on for its EVs. Essentially it’s a way for drivers to shift gears with what feels like a manual transmission and the car will synthesize shift points to make it feel authentic. Which is a silly-sounding idea when you can just give the electric car an actual transmission like the RS e-tron GT, even if it is only two gears.
However, it’s actually kind of clever in how it works and it may be an interesting way for enthusiasts to have manual transmissions in electric cars, even it it’s sort of a placebo transmission. Check it out.