With the future of cars being not only automatic, but now all-electric, it’s no surprise that the manual gearbox is slowly dwindling in numbers. But Toyota isn’t letting go of the manual gearbox without a fight according to recent reports on the marque that it’s creating a ‘fake’ manual gearbox for its future EVs.
BZ Forums has found patents that were filed by Toyota in 2021 which involves a number of different ideas. These come in the forms of a simulated clutch, a simulated gearshift, and a way to disconnect the power from the wheels, just like a clutch pedal does in an internal combustion-engined car.
This is how one of the patents read:
“The electrical vehicle includes a shift lever and a clutch pedal for pseudo-realizing the manual gear change of the MT vehicle…The shift lever is operated by the driver to select an arbitrary virtual gear stage mode from among plurality of virtual gear stage modes…The controller calculates the virtual engine speed of the virtual engine…and displays the virtual engine speed on the display.”
The system will offer three modes: a mode that requires a clutch pedal and a gearshift, one that requires just the shift in gear, and finally, a fully ‘automatic’ mode that doesn’t require any input. This covers a host of different experiences such as a fully manual car, a dual-clutch type supercar, and a Prius. Different strokes for different folks.
The patent suggests though, that when in its third mode (fully automatic), the car will still feel like it’s an ICE car and not an EV with a single forward drive. The tech will even give you a rev counter so you can manage the car’s gear changes.
We’ve already seen something very similar to this in the 2017 Toyota GR HV concept car. Looking like a GT86 with a targa top, the driver had access to an H-pattern gearbox despite its EV powertrain. It was activated by a button on the gearknob, similar to a hidden NOS button in a Fast and Furious movie. This was obviously just a concept, but certainly shows what direction Toyota wants to move in.
This makes us very excited for the future of cars, even those without engines. But maybe, more importantly, it proves that Toyota knows what we want.