Toyota's EV Manual Transmission Impresses Testers

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【Summary】Toyota has developed a simulated manual transmission for its EVs, aiming to add excitement and driver involvement to its electric vehicles. The system, currently fitted in a Lexus UX 300e, includes a clutch pedal, tachometer, and six-speed stick shift. Testers found that the system works just like a traditional manual, responding to inputs like throttle and clutch use.

FutureCar Staff    Nov 13, 2023 10:16 PM PT
Toyota's EV Manual Transmission Impresses Testers

Toyota is investing billions into battery-electric vehicles (EVs) and wants to make them fun and exciting. In their efforts to add excitement and driver involvement, the auto giant has developed a simulated manual transmission. This transmission system, currently fitted to a Lexus UX 300e, includes a clutch pedal, a traditional tachometer, and a six-speed stick shift in the console. Despite having no mechanical linkages, sensors are used to mimic the feeling of driving a traditional manual.

Recently, Toyota allowed outsiders to test this simulated manual transmission for the first time. Auto News tested the system in Japan and found that it works just like an ordinary manual, responding to inputs such as throttle usage and clutch pedal engagement. Although it may not be suitable for the Lexus UX, it could be well-suited for future electric sports cars from Toyota, like a potential production version of the FT-Se.

But Toyota's engineers are not stopping there. They are also working on another intriguing feature to add spice to their EVs. By placing a small 3D-printed scale model of an internal combustion engine (ICE)-powered Toyota model on the center console, the character of the EV can be completely transformed. For example, when a model of the Toyota Passo kei car is placed on the console, the EV attempts to mimic the characteristics of the 90 hp car with fake sounds and weak acceleration.

The system also works with other models, such as the Tundra. When a model of the Tundra is positioned correctly, the EV starts to sound like a turbocharged V6 and has simulated automatic shifts, just like the pickup truck. Additionally, the test vehicle, known as the RZ, has been designed to mimic the Lexus LFA, complete with a screaming artificial V10 engine note and automatically stiffened suspension for enhanced handling.

These innovative systems developed by Toyota raise the question of whether they are mere gimmicks or a clever way to win over car enthusiasts. What are your thoughts on these features?

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