If you’re shaking in your boots about the future of EVs and how they will ruin the fun of driving, then this will be a feel-good story for you because Toyota is experimenting with a manual transmission in an EV. What? A Toyota story will never be feel-good anything? Gosh, you people are never happy!
But for the rest of us who revel in the excitement of future products despite the perceived death knell in the distance, this is good news because it shows that enthusiasts are on the minds of engineers. On the heels of news that Lexus is working on an LFA-inspired electric supercar with a manual transmission later in the decade, Car and Driver magazine reports that Toyota has spent several days showing European journalists a version of the Lexus UX 300e (a small crossover EV not sold in the U.S.) with a simulated shifter and clutch to whet the appetite of enthusiasts. “The driver can shift between different gears when they get to the far end of the fake tachometer and, if they blow a shift, can even stall the electric car,” says C&D.
EVs generally use one or two forward gears, so having a simulated manual doesn’t make much sense. However, Lexus says it is playing with this idea to create a more engaging EV experience. Considering Toyota has patented a manual transmission simulator for EVs, kudos to them for actually helping us keep the interaction of Man and machine in the way that only a manual transmission gives you.