Toyota cracks and will integrate a fake manual gearbox on its electric cars

Toyota, the premium Japanese manufacturer, confirms the rumours: Lexus engineers are indeed working on a manual transmission for the brand’s future high-end electric sports cars. The electric car may then even… stall!

The Lexus Electrified Sport concept car // Source: Lexus

At the beginning of the year, a rather crazy rumor came to the web: the Toyota group (of which Lexus is a part) would be developing a manual gearbox for electric cars, as relayed by the Numerama media.

The rumor was far from unfounded, since it came from patent filings. At first glance, it seemed far-fetched, especially since many patented ideas do not necessarily see the light of day. In any case on production cars.

The pleasure of the manual gearbox brought up to date?

But, against all odds, instead of this idea falling through, Toyota, through its premium Lexus brand, confirms working on this technology. It was the manufacturer himself who confirmed this during a press conference.

But technically, how is this possible? In reality, there will be no gearbox to speak of, or even actual synchronizers or gears. The clutch lever and pedal are present, but everything is simulated by software. According to Lexus, the feeling will be “very realistic” and has already been tested on a prototype of the Lexus UX300e. In particular, we can discover the first tests on the video published by Toyota below.

There’s something amiss about this Lexus UX300e (not a car I’m usually that interested in)…

— Jordan Katsianis (@JordanKatsianis) December 5, 2022

In reality, this system will rather be made to bring back fond memories of the manual gearbox on sports cars. It is possible to engage and shift gears via the gear selector, although everything will be simulated. This solution should be integrated into the electric sports models that will arrive at Lexus. This system should be inaugurated on the replacement of the famous LFA, the production version of the Lexus Electrified Sport concept.

A sporty and electric future at Lexus

The technology will be so realistic that, according to Lexus Electrified chief engineer Takashi Watanabe, “the driver will even be faced with the possibility of stalling or rolling backwards when starting on a hill”. “This new project started with some Lexus engineers thinking about what they liked about thermal vehicles and what they should be missing with electric cars. The manual transmission was something they particularly liked”says the engineer.

At the moment there is no release date yet for this technology and the production version of the Electrified Sport concept. “I can’t tell you when we’ll launch a production vehicle based on the Electrified Sport. But I can confirm that we are working on it”says Takashi Watanabe.

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