Lexus Is Developing A “Manual Transmission” for Electric Cars

There’s still a lot to be said about the sounds and feel of rolling through the gears in a gas powered sports car. This sound and feel is missing in an EV. But not for long! Lexus is be working on a way to replicate the experience of driving a stick in their future electric cars.

Lexus is developing a “manual transmission” to recreate the entire combustion engine driving experience in an emission-free electric car. However, instead of bolting a manual gearbox to an electric motor, Lexus will use a gear stick and clutch pedal that’s not connected to anything. In other words, it’s totally fake!

To make it all feel real, the automaker is experimenting with haptic technologies to give you feedback and resistance whenever you change gear.

“This is then combined with clever software and sound generators within the cabin to create a complete experience. Both elements are physically connected to, well nothing, but utilize technology already available on today’s cars to create virtual feedback.”

Lexus engineers also augmented the torque being delivered from the electric motor. This means it will be able to recreate any engine and transmission combination through both sound and torque deliveries from the powertrain.

Lexus has already built a working prototype based on its UX300e electric crossover. The engineers have mapped the engine and transmission feel of a gas engine. The test car also has a rev counter and could be fitted with vibrators in the seats and other interior features to help recreate the rumble and feel of an engine. Check out the video demo.

It all sounds cool, and could be a cool way to reproduce the ICE feel in an EV. But what do you think? Would you buy an electric car with a “manual transmission” that looks and feel like a manual, but doesn’t actually do anything other than make you think you’re driving a manual car?