Electric vehicles do not take up a large portion of the automotive market. With just 1.6 percent of the total US automotive market share, EVs aren’t especially popular. That in itself isn’t too surprising, nor is it very sad. What is sad, though, is the fact that, even at less than two percent of the market share, EVs still outsold manual transmissions in 2019.
You read that right, the row-your-own gearbox took up less than 1.6 percent of the market share in the US last year. More specifically, only 1.1 percent of all vehicles sold in 2019 had manual gearboxes. That’s almost painful to read because it means the end is nigh.
As car enthusiasts, we’ve all been dreading the end of manual transmissions for years, knowing that its end is inevitable. The knowledge that manual transmissions are dying off and will soon meet their end, despite us desperately wanting them to remain, is upsetting to a lot of enthusiasts. I feel like Thanos should be delivering this message in my place.
To be honest, I’m not one to overly complain about the lack of manuals in modern cars, nor do I criticize automatic transmissions. In fact, I love modern automatics; their brilliant and work perfectly without ever needing my intervention to keep the car in the right gear. Combine that inherent brilliance with my laziness and auto manufacturers have a winning combo. That doesn’t mean that I won’t shed a tear for the death of manual transmissions, though.
I daily drive a manual and always look for an excuse to drive one during press launches or work trips. Modern automatics are brilliant but even the best dual-clutch in this galaxy lacks the engagement of actually operating three pedals and a stick shift.
Sadly, though, their inevitable end is drawing near. Customers simply can’t be bothered by driving manuals anymore, for a myriad of reasons. For starters, it’s just not taught much anymore, leading most people to never learn how. It’s also more difficult to drive a manual while using Apple CarPlay and all the other in-cabin distractions modern drivers love. But the biggest reason of all is the lack of enthusiasm, especially among young people. Customers just aren’t car enthusiasts anymore. We’re a dying breed. Because of that, customers don’t care about interacting with the machine like we do.
With all of the skepticism among Americans surrounding electric cars, the fact that EVs outsold manual transmissions in 2019 only means that the demise of the three-pedal ‘box is far closer than we thought.