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Electric Cars Now Outsell Manual-Transmission Cars

Technology / Comments

But don't despair just yet.

With the push towards electric drivetrains, this was inevitable. A report from Driving.ca cites research from JD Power that confirms electric car sales have now surpassed stickshift sales in the US. On the surface, that sounds like the death of the manual transmission. In some ways it is, but, for enthusiasts, it isn't. In 1965, a landmark automotive journalist called Ken Purdy penned a headline for Playboy magazine titled: "Bye-Bye Stick Shift," and the article came complete with a picture of a cobweb-covered picture of a Corvette's manual shifter. It's only now, some 64 years later, that the Corvette actually won't be available with a stickshift anymore.

Front View Driving Chevrolet
Dashboard Chevrolet
Engine Bay Chevrolet

That's because the new C8 Corvette is built for outright performance and there's not enough demand for a manual version. The people shouting the loudest aren't buying them and for outright performance driving, the manual transmission has been dead for some time. Even if they could, nobody would option a McLaren with a stick shift, and neither Ferrari or Lamborghini will take your money to put one in a supercar. Cars built for performance with two pedals perform better.

The manual is only dead, or about to take its last breath, in appliance cars. The big companies are only putting them in cars designed outright for enthusiasts or have an enthusiast angle. Only the snobs who believe that putting themselves through the hell of daily traffic with a manual transmission makes them cool want one in every appliance car.

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Honda is more than happy to make and sell a manual for the Accord Sport, Civic Si and Type R, and there's a manual in Toyota's 86 and Mazda's MX-5. BMW has manual options and says that they won't be going away anytime soon, while Porsche has just announced manuals are an option in the 2020 911. The Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger all have manual options. The list goes on and includes sporty versions of more mainstream cars.

This has been a long-winded way of saying that electric cars are now outselling a specific option in cars aimed at enthusiasts, and we're OK with that.

Electric cars are a tiny slice of the overall market right now but that's steadily growing as predicted. At the same time, we currently have a rich selection of performance cars, both with and without manuals. The manual's time as the black or white better option is gone.

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2017-2019 Honda Civic Type R Rear Three-Quarter Right Side View Honda
2017-2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF Front View Driving Mazda
Chevrolet
2019-2020 BMW M2 Competition Burnout BMW
2017-2020 Subaru BRZ Three Quarter Front Left Side View via Subaru
Subaru
2014-2019 Dodge Challenger SXT / GT Front Side in Motion FCA

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