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How exactly does the world’s first ‘electric’ manual transmission work?

Chasing Cars Team

The new Koenigsegg CC850 not only has over 1000kW, but also uses a very complex automated manual transmission

Monterey Car Week is usually a celebration of priceless vintage metal, but this year a brand new Swedish car stole the spotlight in more ways than one.

Koenigsegg used the iconic event in America to reveal the CC850, which pays tribute to the brand’s very first production car, the CC8S, which celebrates its 20th birthday this year. 

Like Koenigsegg’s other cars, this CC850 utilises a twin-turbo 5.0-litre V8 engine to pump out north of 1000kW, sent exclusively to the rear wheels. But it’s how this power is sent rearward that is arguably the most interesting aspect of this car. 

Koenigsegg CC850 2022 interior
The Koenigsegg CC850 has a frankly wild interior

Dubbed the ‘Engage Shift System’, this transmission is based on the same ‘Light Speed Transmission’ that was found in the Jesko, but adds a third pedal for the sake of driver engagement.

At its core, this ESS is still a nine-speed automatic transmission with multiple clutches, but you’ll notice that the shifter looks like an old-school gated six-speed manual transmission. This is because it plays the role of being both a manual and an automatic transmission.

Despite the fact that mechanical elements are visible below the shifter, it’s a shift-by-wire unit that uses electronic components to select gears in the nine-speed transmission.

Koenigsegg CC850 2022 shifter
The gated-style shifter from the new CC850

On top of this, the ‘six-speed manual’ gets variable gear ratios that change with driving modes (through extra three gears in the nine-speed transmission). 

Six gears are selectable via the manual shifter, but you’ll notice that there are actually eight gates to choose from. That’s because the far right top gate is reserved for reverse, and the bottom right is how the car’s automatic mode is engaged.

The company’s CEO Christian Von Koenigsegg noted that it’s the world’s first manual transmission to use variable gear ratios, but we aren’t so sure that it’s a manual in the traditional sense. On that last point, it was confirmed that the transmission is able to be stalled by letting out the clutch too quickly, so that wins it points in our eyes.

Koenigsegg CC850 2022 front end
There is no doubt that this is a Koenigsegg in terms of exterior styling

Automated manual transmissions are nothing new, and have been used in production vehicles for almost two decades. The differing factor here is the clutch pedal, so it will be interesting to see whether or not it’s liked by the car community. 

Just 50 of these CC850s are slated for production and although pricing hasn’t been revealed, you can almost guarantee that it will land in the seven-figure region. It has also been reported that one CC850 will be making its way to Australia.