Manual drivers, do electric cars make you reassess the meaning of driving stick?

Inspired by this thread:

Why do you prefer a stick-shift over an automatic transmission?

I learned a lot from this thread. I have been inspired to learn manual lately and get a manual car (leaning toward a WRX). I’m sold on a manual versus a regular automatic, even a DTC. More control, more involvement. It’s an adult skill I think I’d like to have at age 49. Plus, Vin Diesel looks badass when he downshifts. But one thing gives me pause…

Tesla! Ludicrous mode. Insane off-the-line torque. A quarter-mile time that puts even most supercars to shame. No shifting, no gearbox. All-wheel-drive to boot.

I just wonder whether a manual trans has any meaning now that EVs like this exist. Is there any conceivable advantage to driving stick versus just flooring a Model S?

The only argument I can personally think of it this: “I want a gasoline engine car because EVs still have limited range, and if I’m going to drive a gasoline engine car, then I will drive a stick.” I can buy that to a certain extent. Nevertheless, it doesn’t change my slightly deflated feeling about stick driving itself, inasmuch as almost any gasoline powertrain will now lose to the motors of a base model Tesla.

(That said, I don’t want a Tesla. Not yet at least. I currently drive a PriusC, and that has nice low-end torque up to 30 mph or so, and it’s got tons of range and can be filled up anywhere. I would be interested in a Tesla once it had more range and charging stations were everywhere. Yes, I know that Tesla fanatics think they already are everywhere. Also, Tesla has a long way to go on build quality and, for that matter, price before I bite. Nevertheless, I think driving a cool manual like a WRX would do something for me. And yet… the Tesla thing… It’s a paradox, I know. Or a contradiction of some sort.)

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

I cannot afford a fully electric car, and I’m not even sure my landlord would cotton to the idea of my putting in an electric hook-up at the apartment building where I live. Since I don’t like in California, but rather, Indiana, the only state with no emissions controls whatsoever, where you can literally drive anything that runs-- seriously literally. You can get a piece of plywood, and a drive train and engine from a junkyard, and cobble it all together, and drive it around. You can drive around missing a door, or with visqueen ducktaped over your missing rear window. You can have spiderweb cracking right on the driver’s side of the windshield, or be missing the hood. You can be dragging the muffler so it’s making sparks, or take off at every stoplight in a cloud of black smoke that obscures the sightlines four cars behind you.

So I don’t think this state is going to get behind apartment dwellers who want to buy full-electric any time soon.

I can’t afford a hybrid either, and I have been advised not to by a used hybrid-- they tend to need VERY expensive repairs as soon as the warranties run out-- they have complicated computer systems in them, that often are not well-cooled.

Not to mention, I had a Prius hybrid once as a rental car, and driving it sucked. I hated it. It was hard to drive, uncomfortable, and had some very bad blind spots. It also charged from braking, or something, and since I was doing a lot of highway driving, there was not much chance for it to charge, so I went through a lot of gas.

My brother has fully electric, and loves it, but he lived in his own house, and has hook-up in the garage. He gets all kinds of tax credits for the car, and the first ten years of inspections waived, because he lives in California. He is also allowed to use the carpool lane even when there is only one person in the car. He loves it, but I think he likes the perks more than the car itself.

If someone gave me a fully electric, and the hook-up free and clear, I’d take it, but I’m sure I’d miss the manual.

I’m not competing in a race. I’m not running time trials. I don’t care what the specs of a car are on paper. I just do not care.

A manual car gives you a level of engagement with the vehicle that you cannot have otherwise. You simply cannot have it.

This doesn’t mean that ALL manual transmissions are good, though. They’re not all created equal. I’ve driven some cars and trucks that were just a huge pain in the ass to shift gears, usually because of some combination of too heavy of a clutch, too stiff of a shifter, too loose of a shifter, or shifter throws that were too long.

When a manual car is set up well, though, with good balanced controls, there’s just nothing else like it.

I drive a manual for preference, but should an electric car be produced here that fits within my specs for price and range*, I’d be happy to throw over the manual for the ‘automatic’.

*99.9% of my driving is my commute and local shopping, less than 15km/10 miles per day. Something that could do 100 km on a charge, costing under 20,000AUD, would be just fine. Something that could do 500 km (my other .1%) is just out of my price range at this time.

What don’t you like in California? Does your brother like in California?

Don’t kid yourself, electric cars are definitely the future. I’ve drove Teslas off and on for several months and yeah, even the $100k gas sport cars can’t compete on acceleration, and I own (a used) one.
Manual transmissions will be nostalgic but never more practical than modern auto transmissions, and electric cars just drive that nail into the coffin. If you want to feel one with the road, get a bike or motorcycle. The fondness of having a manual transmission quickly ends when you spend any amount of time in stop-and-go traffic.

I hate everyone.

I have been curious about what the underground street racers have adopted in recent years. Surely we have come a long way since “Shuto Kousoku Trial”.

What is DTC?

There are zero advantages of manuals over gas automatics except: the driver may find it more enjoyable to drive.

Electrical have superior acceleration than pretty much everything else. Yes their lack of range is a disadvantage as well as being more weather affected.

I do not like Tesla in general, I hope they get more competition than Toyota and Chevrolet dipping their little toes into the pool.

DTC = Dual Transmission Clutch = DCT = Dual-Clutch Transmission

Speak for yourself. Except for a Chevy Spark that I acquired a few years ago, and which I use for highway trips (got it when my mother was ill, and I was driving out east many times a year), I have exclusively driven stick. That includes in stop and go traffic.

I don’t mind the manuals in stop and go traffic. I don’t like automatics in stop and go traffic, because it’s so easy for your attention to wander, and your foot to go off the brake, and the car to mindlessly bump into the car in front of it. Got hit once like this. Had a bike on the carrier, too. It needed to have a wheel replaced, and Wow was it hard to get the other driver to pay for it.

I didn’t comment in the linked thread, as it was for those who prefer a manual. I drive a manual because one of our cars is standard shift, and no one else in my household can drive one.

I drove a manual pickup for many years, because I’d grown weary of constantly repairing the stupid E4OD POS transmission that Ford screwed all owners with. It couldn’t handle towing anything, and constantly overheated, and I finally replaced it with a Chevy manual shift. Eventually, truck manufacturers began producing usable and reliable automatics that no longer require me to install aftermarket cooling systems. That was the extent of my loyalty to sticks and my current tow vehicle has an auto.

For me there’s no “meaning of driving stick”, it’s just a tool to get a job done. Whether it’s a multi-range or single, synchromesh or double-clutch, or a neat little 5 speed in a car, I can drive it. I’ve even driven the old 2-stick versions where you shift with one arm thru the steering wheel. I’m okay with slushboxes too as they’re less hassle.

Electric cars change nothing, they’re just a different tool for a different job. I find them intriguing, but since I no longer commute I have no need for one. I insist on a minimum of 1000 mile range while towing and I don’t see electric vehicles providing that in the near future.

So for now, I stick with an automatic for towing because it’s easier, and a manual in my daily driver because it’s there – and I’m too cheap to replace it since it’s only got 260,000 miles on the odometer. It’s a Toyota, so it’ll be a long time before I need a replacement.

I’ve only driven manual transmissions, but I’m curious about electric cars, having never been in one. The idea of driving a golf cart on a highway is what gets me.

The OP seems to be under the impression that the only thing a manual transmission (“MT”) changes vs an automatic transmission (“AT”) is straight line acceleration from a standing start.

Frankly, an AT often does that better than an MT. It’s all the other aggressive maneuvering where a MT can, in skilled hands, outperform an AT. And even in unskilled hands, can still be more fun.

As @Lamoral says, an MT forces you to be more involved in your vehicle than an AT. Whether that extra involvement is fun or a chore depends on what you’re doing with it.

Nowadays my missions are around town in rectilinear suburbia and freeway cruising at speed. Neither of which benefit from an MT; it’s all chore w no extra fun.

Should every mechanically-inclined person know how to drive an MT? Sure. And butcher a cow and all the other things in that famous list. But knowing how to drive one isn’t the same as buying one for your daily driver to be used in mostly drudgerous conditions.

OTOH, if you’ve got a mission where an MT would be fun, go for it. YOLO and all that. Besides – soon enough, like buckboards and butter churns, nobody will really know what they are or how to use them.

Late add:

A separate question is how an EV (or hybrid) feels to drive. Standing start straight line acceleration is just one factor. How’s the suspension? Performance tires or economy? How’s the braking? Weight distribution? etc. Some EVs can be fun to thrash. Others are just econoboxes that are craptacular experiences when driven hard. Not just no performance in an absolute sense, but no fun in a relative sense. The machine is fighting you, not rewarding you, every step of the way.

Lastly, thinking about Ludicrous mode … There are vids and vids on youtube of guys in Ferraris and such flooring it while trying to negotiate suburban street corners and promptly spinning out into a light pole. Any truly powerful car can deliver more power than the tires can connect to the road. and maintain steering control. The more computerized EVs may protect you from yourself in most cases, but even they can’t repeal the laws of physics. Be careful what you wish for.

While you do have to refuel pretty often at highway speeds considering its small tank, my Prius still gets over 40 mpg on the highway unless I’m consistently doing over 75 mph.

I have a friend who’s driven his uncle’s Tesla a few times. The first time he texted me right after: “THIS changes everything!” And he’s a big Internal Combustion fan.

I’ve spent my whole life avoiding high-end audio equipment, restaurants and cars. I don’t want to get spoiled, so I haven’t driven a Tesla.

But, dear Car Gods, all I ask for is an affordable electric car with huge range, a small battery I can bring inside to charge overnight (street parking) …

… and a manual transmission.

… And a place to keep your horse. Sheesh! :wink:

You mean my flying tie-dyed unicorn.

I suppose since it’s your horseless carriage you can have been using whichever sort of horse you want to tow its predecessor.

I know if I had a flying unicorn I’d sure dispense with the earthbound carriage and just ride the unicorn though.

All silliness aside …

You do raise the serious point that on-street parking (and other forms of overnight bulk parking like lots in apartments and condos) are one of the big obstacles to widespread plug-in EV adoption. It’s totally what’s stopping me.