As stated by certain media reports, Lexus EVs will be taking the lead role in the development of Toyota’s future high-performance electric cars. It is said to be working on making its EVs with manual transmission for EVs. Going beyond just changing the gears, other experiences from the ICE-powered vehicles will be bought to its EVs.
Lexus EVs will come with an unconnected gear lever and clutch pedal, both of which, provide haptic feedback to generate a ‘feel’. This combined with the sound generators via clever software tech offers drivers a complete experience inside the cabin. The car will have the feel of a mechanically linked clutch pedal via a haptic driver in the pedal itself. It is said to work in a similar manner to that of modern electric steering systems. The tech not only offers feedback from the clutch pedal but will also augment the torque being delivered from the electric motor. Reports also state that the tech will accurately translate clumsy shifts as well, allowing drivers to even stall the vehicle.
Evo reports the “transmission” has an unconnected gear stick and clutch coupled to the electric powertrain, with fake internal combustion sounds and software that augments the electric torque output. In other words, it’s a full-on pretend manual in an EV, complete with the “vroom vroom” sounds. Even Road & Track was quick to call the setup “fake.”
For decades, the manual (once known as the “standard transmission”) was the cheaper transmission for cars, leaving fancy, high-tech automatic gearboxes for those willing to pay extra. The manual is even still pervasive in some new car markets, like Europe and South America. They often got better fuel economy than automatics, too. But in the US, with our traffic-choked cities, lack of public transit options, wide open highways, and love of road-tripping, the automatic soon became the preference of mainstream drivers. Automatics eventually reached cost parity with manuals, leading to them no longer being offered on most models at all.
That was for mainstream cars; a large majority of traditional car enthusiasts preferred manuals, especially on performance-focused cars, for their increased degree of control over the vehicle. And there’s an elitist aspect to their appeal, too. There’s something special about having a skill most other Americans don’t have, being able to operate a vehicle that most people cannot. Also, automatic transmission technology just got better over the years. A modern eight-speed transmission from the German company ZF is light-years beyond the sluggish four-speed automatics people were driving in the 1990s. That gearbox is so good, it’s used in dozens of luxury cars across multiple brands.