Electric vehicles may have a ways to go before they overtake their gas-guzzling older siblings—but they just took one giant step in that direction: EVs are now outselling cars with manual transmissions in the US.
A new study released by J.D. Power shows that vehicles with fully electric drivetrains outsold those with manual transmissions by nearly two to one over the third quarter in the US, according to Canadian car magazine Driving. And while the news isn’t necessarily a surprise to those in the industry, it’s still a stunning achievement.
The marketing information group found that the fortunes of the two types of cars couldn’t have differed more during the third quarter of 2019. While EVs hit a new highwater mark this quarter, accounting for 1.9 percent of cars sold in the country, sales of stick shifts dropped to an all-time low of 1.1 percent of the market.
“[Manual transmissions] have been on a nearly century-long decline, and while no rational person thinks the trend will ever reverse, it was interesting to note that only this year, after nearly a decade in market, EVs were able to surpass last century’s dying technology,” J.D. Power executive Tyson Jominy told the publication.
The finding all but confirms that days may be numbered for manual transmissions in America. Most automakers have actually discontinued the sale of stick shifts in the country in an attempt to keep costs down. That’s especially true of entry-level models which used to feature manual transmissions as standard. In fact, a manual gearbox can now almost exclusively be found in niche vehicles.
But all hope may not be lost for drivers who love the feel and character of manual shifting. This week, at SEMA, Ford debuted a one-off fully electric Mustang with a six-speed stick shift. Of course, that transmisson will likely only emulate a gearbox, but no judgements from us. After all, nostalgia always requires some level of pretend time.