Electric RC Car’s Transmission (all you need to know)


One of the most frequently asked questions by hobbyists and RC vehicle enthusiasts is whether or not their vehicles possess the transmission system which is also known as the gearbox. 

The general answer is YES! but where the actual confusion lies is in what type of transmission system should be present. The transmission in an electric radio-controlled car cannot be the same in a nitro RC car, because of the difference in the efficiency of their motors. Same applies to other RC models. You cannot expect an electric engine to be running on the same transmission system as a gasoline combustion system.

With that being said, the answer to the question ‘Do electric cars have transmission? is still Yes, Electric RC cars have transmissions, although in this case, they are limited to just the single speed transmission.

Electric RC cars don’t require multi speed transmissions because of the brushed or brushless motor present in them. Electric motors have been noted for their ability to deliver power instantly to the wheels, even at zero Rate per minute (RPM), making the presence of an advanced or complex transmission system unnecessary. 

In models that make use of internal combustion such as the nitro RC cars, there is a time spent in building up torque which electric cars beat straight up just by being efficient. Efficiency in the sense that the amount of Torque needed to enforce movement at the wheels in an electric RC car can be gotten at half the time it takes a multi speed gear system to perform the same action.

What Is A Transmission And How Does It Work?

Simply put, a transmission is a vehicles’ gearbox.

A transmission is a machine that provides a controlled application of power in a power transmission system. The transmission uses the power created within the engine to keep the RC vehicle in continuous spinning motion hence indulging the vehicle in movement.

It moves the power generated at the engine to the wheels. A transmission system enables the gear ratio between the drive wheels and engine to adjust as the car speeds up or slows down. In simpler terms, the gearbox helps to ensure that your RCs engine is spinning at the right rate. Continually Variable Transmissions CVTs), are usually found in RC cars, and other vehicles with small engines although it is a pulley based transmission system.

How Does The Transmission Work?

The controller of the car engages the gear system through the transmitter. When engaged, the clutch plates are maneuvered into place to connect to larger gears. As the gear lever moves, the set of gears turn in their correct alignment and the power ratio delivers from engine to wheels.

 When the gears fail to properly align, a loud and unpleasant crunching sound will be heard. This is because the teeth of the gears are grinding against themselves.

Do Electric Rc Cars Have Reverse Gear?

No, they do not. Electric RC cars do NOT possess reverse gear.

The reverse mechanism in electric RC cars is majorly the Electronic Speed Control (ESC) component sending a reverse polarity to the engine, causing it to slow down and thereby act as substitute brakes. For the Electronic Speed Control to reverse the direction of a car, it has to offset two of its wires which are directly connected to the electric motor.

Since RC cars are meant to go forward at a very high speed, reversing the cars is risky if attempted at the same speed at which it is driving. Hence the need for the ESC to slow it down. In professional RC racing spaces, the inclusion of reverse gear is prohibited. This is to preserve the durability of the machine. The lack of brakes make the process of slowing down complicated and reversing a car takes even more work than slowing down.

How Electric Rc Cars Control The Power Delivery Of The Motor?

Electrical radio-controlled models utilize the ESC units to adjust the amount of power delivered to the electrical motor.

Electric RC cars are powered by small yet powerful motors. The power delivered is proportional to the amount of throttle called for by the transmitter – meaning that the more the trigger is pulled by the controller, the faster the car goes; and the less pressure the controller places on the transmitter, the slower it goes.

How Can You Benefit From Adding A Transmission To Your Electric Car?

Adding a transmission helps to ensure that your wheels get the sufficient amount of power it needs from the motor.

Cars require the transmission to prevent their engines from redlining. For every vehicle that uses a motor, there is a certain maximum RPM that it can spin at before damage occurs to the engine- This is known as redline. But even at that, just a single gearbox is sufficient for your RC car to attain its top speed. Adding a more complex gear system just adds to the machine’s inadequacies by increasing the weight which intermittently decreases the speed of the car. The inclusion of an extra transmission system can equally be termed as a waste of money.

What Is A Single Speed Transmission (In Electric Cars) And Does Electric Rc Cars Have It?

A single speed transmission is a one ratio gear system, which regulates the electric motor and delivers appropriate balance between the car’s acceleration and top speed while it is in motion.

It is the transmission system found in most electric cars, not just being restricted to RC vehicles only. Yes, electric RC cars have the single speed transmission. Any vehicle that runs on an electric motor is not obligated to have more than this single speed transmission system as their engine is able to do most of the work which a multi speed transmission system is designed to perform.

What Is Two Speed Transmission And Does Electric Rc Cars Have It?

A two-speed transmission is a gear system which consists of two forward gears and one reverse gear, a neutral position and the possibility of semi-automatic gear shifting; a scenario where part of the cars gear system is automated but the driver’s input is still needed from an unchanged or fixed location in order to be able to manually change the gears.

Electric RC cars do not possess the two-speed transmission.

As discussed earlier, electric RC cars DO NOT require the use of a multi speed transmission system. This is because they can achieve much higher revolutions than a standard fuel engine due to their ability to produce the adequate amount of torque at up to zero RPM and therefore the extra gear system is not present. This transmission system is present in other RC models inclusive of the internal combustion vehicles.


Without the presence of a transmission system, a vehicle is heading towards apparent self destruction. A transmission system, be it a single speed system or a multi speed system, ensures that the appropriate amount of power is dissipated all the way from the engine to the wheels.

Understanding your very own RC vehicle helps you to know what type of transmission should be present and why it should be present. For example, not knowing that your Nitro car requires a multi speed transmission system, will definitely leave you confused on why your vehicle is driving below standard. And as previously explained, an electric RC car possessing a single speed transmission is not in any way less effective than an RC car possessing a three speed transmission system and vice Versa.