Lexus is developing a simulated manual transmission for electric vehicles, with the announcement coming during the Toyota Kenshiki conference.
The system uses a physical gear shift, tachometer, and third pedal, but is not connected to a clutch — instead, the experience is simulated through software. The system veers towards the overly realistic, as the car will mimic all aspects: there’s the possibility of stalling the car and rolling backwards on a hill start.
“This new project all started with some Lexus engineers reflecting on what they liked about traditional [internal combustion] vehicles and what they had to miss out on with electric cars,” said Takashi Watanabe, Chief Engineer at Lexus Electrified. “[The] manual transmission was one thing they enjoyed in particular.”
As an example, a UX 300e was outfitted with a prototype:
The prototype EV has three pedals, a stick shift, and a rev counter simulator. To further enhance the experience, a simulated sound of a combustion engine plays through the speakers during gear changes.