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EVs are now outselling manual transmissions in the US

While that news will doubtless elicit a groan from three-pedal enthusiasts and cheers from electric evangelists, we doubt the manual will die off entirely.

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Three pedals and a stick are becoming increasingly less common, but we still love the experience.

Porsche

The manual transmission continues to have a pretty tough time here in America, with buyers avoiding manual-transmission cars in record numbers. Such record numbers that now EV sales have surpassed sales of vehicles with manual transmissions, according to data from J.D. Power and reported recently by Driving.ca.

Why is that important? Well, the venerable stick shift has been around since someone decided that cars needed more than one gear. While its previous popularity has been eclipsed by the automatic transmission for decades, the manual transmission has managed to hang on.

According to J.D. Power, manual transmissions have approximately 1.1% market penetration in America, which for many enthusiasts is a fairly grim figure to see. Comparatively, electric vehicles -- which have really only been commercially available to the public for the last decade or so -- now represent 1.9% of car sales in the US.

A big chunk of the reason for this likely lies in good old-fashioned availability. The manual transmission used to be the cheap transmission of choice. It was what you got when you were buying a small, affordable car and didn't want to shell out several thousand dollars for an automatic.

Now, most of those same small, affordable cars are only sold as automatics. The manual transmission was also traditionally the way you'd go if you wanted to buy a high-performance car because old automatics were often slow to shift and shifted at the wrong time. That's also changed, with many of the most high-performing models from companies offered with either paddle-shifted dual-clutch transmissions or performance-tuned automatics.

Some companies continue to hold on to the manual, with Hyundai, Ford, BMW, Porsche, Mazda, Subaru and others leading the three-pedal charge on everything from hot hatchbacks and muscle cars to grand tourers and track day weapons, but this trend will only continue if people complain loudly and keep buying these now-specialist cars.

Electric vehicles are now more available in more forms and at more price points than ever before. Add in the low cost of charging an EV, the increasingly dense nationwide charging networks, and all of the various national, state and even municipal tax incentives for going electric, and it's easy to see why cars like the Tesla Model 3 are on the rise.

In the end, what can we take away from this information?

We'd say that you can bet on electric vehicles continuing to eat away at internal combustion's market share in increasingly big bites as electric car technology becomes better and more affordable. We'd also be surprised to see manuals go away entirely because while it's not big, there is a very vocal and dedicated minority that won't let them die.

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