Lexus Developing Manual Transmission for Electric Cars

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Image: Toyota

Toyota is developing a manual transmission for potential use in future electric cars under its luxury Lexus brand, British car enthusiast publication Evo has learned:

Rather than physically fitting a mechanical manual transmission to the back-end of an electric motor, this technology uses an unconnected gear stick and clutch pedal that use haptic drivers to generate ‘feel’. This is then combined with clever software and sound generators within the cabin to create a complete experience. Both elements are physically connected to, well nothing, but utilise technology already available on today’s cars to create virtual feedback.

Evo also reported that:

  • Lexus has already built a working prototype based on the electric Lexus UX300e crossover
  • System recreates the feel of a mechanically-linked clutch pedal through a haptic driver in the pedal
  • Clumsy shifts will be accurately translated; drivers will even be able to stall it
  • Toyota thinks it can recreate any engine and transmission combination through both sound and torque deliveries from the powertrain
  • System will be integrated with Lexus’s DIRECT4 twin-motor

“From the outside, this vehicle is as quiet as any other BEV,” explained Takashi Watanabe, Lexus Electrified Chief Engineer. “But the driver is able to experience all the sensations of a manual transmission vehicle. It is a software-based system, so it can be programmed to reproduce the driving experience of different vehicle types, letting the driver choose their preferred mapping.”

A number of car enthusiast publications have been quick to call the setup “fake,” stressing how it’s just a pretend manual.

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Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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