Over the past decade, every automaker has doubled the number of gears in their automatic transmissions. In the name of fuel economy, Jeep has a 9-speed automatic and Ford worked with GM for the new 10 speed that will be shared across several models. So how and why did Christian von Koenigsegg choose to eliminate the gearbox? Engineering explained is a great channel for the theory behind everyday situations, but the simple answer is torque.
Archimedes said, “Give me a lever long enough, and I will move the world”. Carrol Shelby told his dealers, “Horsepower sells cars, torque wins races”. The reason we have transmissions is because normal car engines don’t have enough torque off idle to get the car moving. But cars with massive torque don’t really need multiple gears. Jeremy Clarkson explained it by taking a Corvette Z06 by starting in 5th gear and eventually reaching the car’s top speed. Dragsters operate under the same principle. The rear differential is bolted to a clutch because gears would explode at those power levels. When the engine is coupled directly to the road, it operates very efficiently and uses less fuel. This is why NASCAR racers quickly get into fourth gear and stay there. GM even programmed every six-speed car to force a first to fourth shift under light throttle, arguably the most annoying feature of my Cadillac CTS-V. Launching in a high gear in a street car will cause the engine to bog down, so Christian uses electricity to help get the Regera moving. It is time to rethink everything you know about hypercars because the future is here.
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