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Do Teslas Have Transmissions? Who Makes Them and What Kind?

Tesla has been at the top of the electric car game since its initial design launch around 2003, with no other eclectic vehicle companies as trusted or popular. But despite this popularity, how these gadgets work continues to mystify people. 

Teslas have a simplified transmission that works differently than a traditional multi-speed transmission does in a gas-powered car. Instead, Tesla uses a single-speed gearbox that takes torque from the electric motor and immediately spins the wheels, which moves the vehicle. 

The rest of this article takes a more detailed look at the transmissions that Tesla uses in their electric cars. Read on to learn the types of transmissions Tesla uses, who’s in charge of making them, and how they stand up against conventional transmissions. 

What Kind of Transmission Does a Tesla Use?

Teslas are popular machines with sleek designs. But, when you pop the hood of one, you may find yourself wondering, where’s the transmission?

Tesla uses a single-speed transmission rather than a conventional internal combustion drivetrain. The simplified drivetrain in a Tesla includes a single-speed transmission that sends power from the motor to the vehicle’s wheels.

Tesla can immediately take input from the driver to start spinning the wheels with direct torque applied. In a standard car, the combustion process will turn the motor, which turns the transmission, which turns the driveshaft, which finally moves the wheels from there. Teslas, however, doesn’t go through this process because of the simplified transmission. 

The drivetrain in a Tesla has less than 20 moving parts, while a conventional internal combustion drivetrain has over 150. This means less ongoing maintenance is required on a Tesla than on a traditional gas-burning vehicle.

Here’s a table for a quick comparison of some more differences between Teslas and gas-burning vehicles: 

Vehicle TypeDifferences
TeslaTakes at least half an hour to recharge Simplified transmission Fewer internal parts
Gas-burning vehiclesCan be refueled in a few minutes More complex internal combustion drivetrain More internal parts

To learn more about how Tesla engines and transmissions work, check out this video of the disassembly of a Tesla engine to figure out what’s inside:

Who Makes Transmissions for Tesla?

Tesla has significantly fewer parts than traditional vehicles. The simple transmission system in Tesla continues to pique people’s curiosity. 

BorgWarner Inc. makes transmissions for Tesla. This partnership began in 2008 with the intention of BorgWarner Inc. ramping up production of the single-speed gearbox for the electric cars using Tesla’s specs.

According to information published by the electric vehicle giant, Tesla engineers worked with BorgWarner to develop these transmissions years ago. Specialized Tesla employees created the details and specifics for these special transmissions and sent them to BorgWarner Inc. 

Tesla has stated on their website that they enhanced the powertrain when they implemented a single-speed gearbox. Specifically, they enhanced the powertrain and delivered approximately 30% higher motor torque on a single gear ratio.

How Does The Tesla Drivetrain Work? Find out how How Tesla’s Drivetrain Sets it Apart From the Competition in this article that I wrote.

Electric-Car-Drivetrain

Do Teslas Have Transmission Fluid?

Teslas do not have transmission fluid in the way that gas-burning vehicles do. Instead of the traditional transmission system being used, they have a gearbox system that uses oil, considered more of a lubricant-like grease. Notably, the Model S is the only exception to this setup.

Though not a popular concept at the moment, the use of gearboxes is growing in the EV manufacturing community. This advancement is expected to result in a longer range and overall better performance. 

Eventually, this could lead to electric vehicles requiring transmission fluid to be changed occasionally as part of the owner’s routine maintenance, depending on the model.

Do Teslas Need Oil?

Tesla developed electric vehicles with distinctive design features, performance, and environmental efficiency. But, because their internal components are vastly different from traditional cars, they inspire loads of questions. 

Teslas do not require traditional oil changes, fuel filters, spark plugs, or emission checks. Unlike gasoline vehicles, Teslas have no engine oil, and thus, the owners of these vehicles save money on oil changes. 

Unlike traditional vehicles, Teslas require significantly fewer maintenance treatments. There really isn’t much to take care of these vehicles other than tire rotations and alignments. In my opinion, maintenance on a traditional gas-burning car is much more costly and time-consuming than with Teslas.


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Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

Thanks for visiting evspeedy.com. The goal of this site is to be a helpful resource for Tesla and EV owners as this is where my passion lies. I was a TSLA shareholder before the hype and still am. I also believe in Tesla’s speedy mission to accelerate the world to a sustainable future.