Toyota's premium brand: Lexus plans fake manual transmissions for electric cars for a better driving experience

An automatic transmission and a very quiet engine noise are among the characteristic features of an electric car.

Toyota's premium brand: Lexus plans fake manual transmissions for electric cars for a better driving experience

An automatic transmission and a very quiet engine noise are among the characteristic features of an electric car. Toyota wants to change this, however, and will install a simulated manual gearbox and engine noises in its vehicles in the future. This is reported by the British car magazine "Evo".

The gear stick and clutch pedal technology is designed not only to provide the feel of shifting, but to enhance the overall driving experience. It should feel like driving a vehicle with a combustion engine. For this purpose, a corresponding sound should be generated inside the vehicle. To achieve this, the technology uses systems already in use in today's cars to provide virtual interaction. The development of the fake manual transmission is to be taken over by Toyota's premium brand Lexus, which is said to have a leading role in the development of the Japanese car company's future high-performance electric cars.

Toyota states that it can theoretically replicate any engine and transmission combination through sound as well as powertrain torque output. It is therefore theoretically also possible to switch between front, rear and all-wheel drive. "Evo" quotes Takashi Watanabe, chief engineer of "Lexus Electrified": "From the outside, this vehicle is as quiet as any other BEV [Battery Electric Vehicle]. But the driver can experience all the sensations of a vehicle with a manual transmission. Because it is a Being a software-based system, it can be programmed to replicate the driving experience of different vehicle types, allowing the driver to choose their preferred mapping."

Since July 2019, new vehicle models with hybrid or electric drives must be equipped with an acoustic vehicle warning system (AVAS, Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System) so that they can be heard by other road users, pedestrians and cyclists. Since 2021, this has applied to all newly produced vehicles with such drive types. Accordingly, the vehicles must generate a noise level of 56 to 75 decibels at speeds of up to 20 km/h and in reverse gear.

There is already a prototype based on the electric Lexus UX300e crossover that has the engine and transmission feel of a petrol engine. A first tachometer is also installed in it. Several other vehicle models also already use such a manual clutch pedal. The technology can be found in the small car Hyundai i20, for example. And the Swedish manufacturer Koenigsegg presented a complex multi-clutch transmission that uses its own system in its CC850 super sports car presented in August. Most of the technology for manual shifting in EVs already exists, it just needs to be put together. The technology in cars is increasing anyway in order to increase the range of virtual reality entertainment.

Sources: Evo, Springer Professional

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