Ever since I drove an electric classic Mini that had a manual transmission several years back, I’ve yearned for a modern EV with a manual. Thankfully, it seems that Toyota might actually be attempting to do make such a thing. Sort of.
Electric vehicles don’t need a transmission at all, as electric motors produce all the torque necessary to drive the car at any speed. But drivers still want the feeling shifting gears. Toyota intends to give them that feeling, even if it’s artificial.
According to a recent post on BZ Forums, some new patent filing suggest that Toyota wants to develop a manual transmission for electric vehicles that simulates the act of shifting gears. Admittedly, that’s not the same as the manual EV Mini I drove all those years back, as that car’s electric motor was actually connected to a manual transmission, via belt drive. So the driver did actually have to shift gears to operate the car. With this potential Toyota transmission, that’s not the case.
This artificial transmission would include a clutch pedal that simulates the feel of actually using a clutch. The shift lever would also not actually be connected to anything mechanical and would simulate the feel of shifting gears. Then, using software, the electric motor would simulate the feel of different gearing, despite not actually having any gears. There would even be a fake tachometer, which could “rev” to an entirely arbitrary 7,600.
Toyota reckons there would be three modes; one that requires full manual operation of both the clutch pedal and gear lever, one that only requires the use of the gear lever with no clutch, and one that’s normal EV mode, using neither the clutch pedal or the gear lever.
Will this technology actually ever come to light? That’s doubtful, to be honest. Most EV customers appreciate how EVs drive and don’t want to simulate any mechanical connection. Also, most purists won’t want this sort of tech, as it’s fake and dishonest, myself included. I genuinely enjoyed my time driving that manual EV Mini conversion but only because it was actually mechanically connected and worked. However, it would be interesting to use as an option.
Additionally, considering Toyota and BMW’s recent partnerships, if Toyota were to actually develop this technology, would BMW borrow it for future EVs, considering how in love with the past its buyers? Let us know, would you want this technology in an electric vehicle?
[Source: Car Scoops]