Lexus confirms development of fake manual for EVs that stalls when you mess up

Back in February this year, Toyota made news when it patented a ‘fake’ manual transmission for electric vehicles (EVs) with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Recently at a “Lexus Deep Dive” at the Toyota Kenshiki Forum, Lexus confirmed the development of the ‘fake’ manual for EVs was taking place. Lexus Electrified Chief Engineer, Takashi Watanabe said that feature “might be on [the brand’s] future BEVs”.

The development of the ‘fake’ manual started “with some Lexus engineers reflecting on what they liked about traditional [internal combustion] vehicles and what they had to miss out on with electric cars,” as Watanabe says. According to the engineers at Lexus, “[The] manual transmission was one thing they enjoyed in particular.”

Takashi Watanabe standing before the Lexus Electrified Sport concept and an image of the prototype Lexus UX 300e with a ‘fake’ manual gearbox

Lexus has even begun testing its ‘fake’ manual on a Lexus UX 300e and footage of the car driving around in a parking lot was shared during the “Lexus Deep Dive”. The EV mimics the sound of a normal internal combustion engine (ICE) car, and even nails the jerking motion of a typical ICE car. Although the ‘engine’ sound can be heard in the cabin, the car is completely quiet from the outside.

According to Lexus, the ‘fake’ manual is so realistic that drivers even face the possibility of stalling the car. The development team added a manual gear lever, a ‘clutch’ pedal, and a tachometer to the UX 300e to complete the manual simulation. Watanabe says that “the only element that they did not reproduce is the smell of petrol”.

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Inside the prototype Lexus UX 300e with the ‘fake’ manual transmission. Note the retrofitted tachometer on the dashboard.

Watanabe adds that “so much fun that the project is now under serious development and it might actually be on future BEVs.” Although the ‘fake’ manual project sounds like a funny idea by a group of engineers, Watanabe says that “on a more serious note, this system is really opening new doors.”

Lexus’ “Deep Dive” took place with the Lexus Electrified Sport concept taking centre stage. Commenting on the sleek concept car, Watanabe said, “I cannot tell you when we will be launching a production vehicle based on the Electrified Sport. But I can confirm that we are working on it.”

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Lexus Electrified Aport during Toyota’s massive unveiling of its EV lineup

Currently being developed for the production version of the Lexus Electrified Sport is the manual transmission, along with all-wheel drive, steer-by-wire and brake-by-wire. “This is not just a design concept. It is meant to become reality,” Watanabe adds.

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