Manual transmissions will live on in the EV era | Jobs Reply

Red 2021 Toyota MR2 Concept
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A top-view shot of a 2024 Toyota MR2 concept

Mass electrification in the automotive world could mean that cars as we know them are on the way to extinction. While many car companies are keeping internal combustion engines around or resorting to alternative fuels with a smaller carbon footprint, automotive giant, Toyota and its luxury arm, Lexus is working on a revolutionary technology that will enable the next generation of car enthusiasts to transition. The gears themselves in the electrified era. What is the “manual” transmission from Toyota and Lexus, and can it really deliver the same thrills as a traditional, manual-equipped gas-powered car?

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Manual transmissions may get a second chance in EVs

2022 Toyota MR2 Concept
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Front 3/4 shot of an orange 2022 Toyota MR2 concept study

It may sound absurd, but the sad truth is that manual transmissions are slowly being phased out. As modern automatics are much more refined and faster, and most EVs don’t need to rely on multiple gear ratios, manual transmissions don’t make much sense in the age of electrification, at least on paper.

Earlier this year, Toyota filed a patent for a new type of manual transmission designed for use in electric vehicles. The first confirmation of Toyota and Lexus’ “EV manual transmission” has been received BZ Forum, Under patent 20220041155A1. From what we have learned so far, it is not a transmission in the usual sense, but rather a controller that is calibrated to control the torque output from the electric motor.

The manual gearbox for EVs was modeled after a real internal combustion vehicle, equipped with a manual transmission to accurately calculate and modulate torque output depending on different “gear ratios”. According to the patent details, Toyota’s manual transmission will be able to simulate a shift response force when the driver uses the “shifter”.

Naturally, simulating a manual transmission will limit the car’s top speed per gear, just like an internal combustion-powered car equipped with a traditional stick shift. The higher the gear, the slower the acceleration. However, having more gears will increase an EV’s top speed, which is where electric vehicles fall far behind their ICE-powered counterparts in terms of performance.

This will greatly improve the top speed of the all-electric model as well as improve efficiency at high speeds unlike EVs that rely on a single-speed or two-speed automatic transmission. For example, a Jaguar I-Pace P400 will do 125 mph (200 km/h), but more like 155 mph (250 km/h).

Related: 10 Best Manual Cars to Buy in 2022.

The manual for the EV will include a clutch response

Toyota’s patent for an EV manual contains a lot of “pseudo” prefixes in descriptions of “clutches,” “shifters” and other “parts” of the drivetrain. So far, in what sounds like a computer game, Toyota says the clutch will have a shaker plate that will transmit vibrations to the clutch and by extension to the driver’s left foot.

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Where can we see Toyota and Lexus manual transmissions for EVs?

2022 Toyota Concept Studies
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A shot of the Toyota and Lexus concept study from 2022

Last December, Toyota revealed 15 concept models, showcasing not only its futuristic design language, but also the production models we should expect in the coming years. The Toyota BZ4X was the first concept study to make it to production, and we saw two sports car concepts, one of which was the successor to the Lexus LFA and the other, a mid-engine model, believed to be the next Toyota MR2. .

Manual transmissions are associated with driver enjoyment like sports cars, so it’s logical that the first place we’ll see this new “EV manual transmission” is going to be in the upcoming LFA and MR2 successors. Of course, Toyota and Lexus wouldn’t bother to go through all the trouble of designing such a system just to include it in two of its many models.

The video above shows onboard footage of a Lexus UX300e, equipped with a “manual”. While this may just be a test mule, the system will likely be incorporated into the Japanese company’s more mainstream models.

Related: Here’s why the Lexus LFA’s successor won’t live up to its name

Correct driver engagement or another strategy?

There’s no denying that, pound-for-pound, EVs are nearly unbeatable when it comes to off-the-line acceleration. Having peak torque from the get-go and, more often than not, relying on just a single “gear” ratio, allows for impressive 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) times. While Toyota’s “manual” transmission aims to add a level of engagement missing from many modern vehicles, electric and ICE-powered alike, it won’t improve EVs’ acceleration.

If anything, it will do the opposite, since it is forcibly reducing the electric motor’s output for the driver’s pleasure. A higher top speed is one thing that can be achieved from the system, but there are only so many places where you can go flat. Toyota and Lexus’ efforts to make EVs more compelling are to be applauded, but at this point, the most important thing is to refine the system to a degree where it doesn’t feel like a computer simulation that forcefully reduces power from an otherwise powerful system. EV powertrain.

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