Toyota engineers have taken a unique approach to attract consumers who find electric cars lacking excitement by working on a realistic-feeling fake manual transmission as a potential feature.

Although a manual transmission in an electric vehicle would serve no functional purpose, it would cater to enthusiasts who enjoy the experience of shifting gears in their conventional gasoline-powered cars.

Toyota, a brand historically skeptical of electric vehicles, has been planning a more aggressive foray into the sector. Acknowledging the need to appeal to a diverse range of consumers, the development of features such as a fake manual transmission aims to entice individuals who are not captivated by the typical smoothness and simplicity associated with electric vehicles.


It is worth noting that the majority of gasoline-powered cars sold in the United States today are equipped with automatic transmissions that require no driver input for shifting gears.

Manual transmissions, which require the driver to operate a clutch pedal and maneuver a gear stick, are often offered as options for performance cars or inexpensive models. However, manual transmissions are more prevalent in other parts of the world, including Europe.

In the case of Toyota’s innovation, as revealed in a recent patent application filed in the United States in late May, the electric car would not possess an actual multi-speed transmission. Instead, a shifter would be connected to sensors and a central computer programmed to replicate the sensation of driving a car with a manual transmission.

Since manual transmission cars vary in terms of engines, transmissions, and gear ratios, the central computer would be programmed to emulate a specific type of manual transmission car. In addition to the conventional brake and accelerator pedals, the driver would also have a clutch pedal to complete the simulated experience.

Furthermore, drivers will have the ability to “downshift” or engage in engine braking. This process involves selecting a lower gear and releasing the clutch pedal without pressing the accelerator, allowing the friction of the unpowered engine to slow the car without the need for brakes.

Toyota’s virtual manual transmission incorporates programming that enables drivers to experience the sensation of operating it poorly, to a certain extent.

If the driver fails to provide sufficient acceleration or selects an incorrect gear, the car will simulate the shaking and bucking experienced in a gas-powered vehicle with a manual transmission. However, the car’s computer will limit the intensity of these effects to prevent undue strain on the battery.

Importantly, if drivers prefer not to use the fake manual transmission, the car will offer two driving modes: a regular electric vehicle mode and the faux-manual mode.

While some reports suggest the inclusion of fake engine sounds to accompany the shifting and accelerating actions, the patent application does not explicitly mention it. The availability, timing, and target markets for the electric vehicle equipped with the simulated manual transmission remain uncertain at this point.

Toyota’s innovative endeavor showcases the company’s commitment to diversifying its electric vehicle offerings and catering to a wider range of consumer preferences.

By blending the familiarity of manual transmissions with the benefits of electric vehicles, Toyota aims to capture the attention of enthusiasts while providing an engaging driving experience in an increasingly electrified automotive landscape.