The fall season brings its own set of worries, such as storing your sports car for the winter, a reality that many enthusiasts have to deal with. But that doesn’t stop one manufacturer from launching a model with enough ability to handle the closed course, like the new Honda Civic Type R. With the CR-V showing up in dealerships across the country, the sharpest Honda Civic is the most interesting new model to come out of the Japanese brand’s workshops.
But there’s also something else to add to the launch of the latest version of the Type R. During a roundtable discussion with Honda President and CEO Toshihiro Mibe and Honda’s head of electrification, Shinji Aoyama, American magazine Car and Driver learned that the automaker doesn’t really believe in including a manual gearbox in a future purely electric lineup, even though Honda’s long-term strategy includes two sports cars that would be ideal candidates for a manual transmission, if only to appeal to three-pedal purists.
Aoyama said it’s entirely possible to offer a manual option “artificially” using a simulated gearbox and the sound of gear changes via the car’s speakers. For his part, Honda’s CEO said that the automaker’s future electric vehicles would have to be bold and distinctive in terms of driving pleasure, but that he did not believe they could replace the manual transmission.
As the publication’s article also mentioned, this vision for the future is not that of Honda’s rival Toyota, which is already working on an alternative to the manual transmission as we know it today. Toyota’s plan is to implement a “virtual” clutch, shifter and gears, a configuration that would even be considered for the Lexus division’s sports cars, as confirmed by the president of the group’s luxury wing, Koji Sato.
On the other hand, Honda’s manual transmission fans can rest easy, as the automaker won’t cancel production of its three-pedal gearbox overnight, the new Type R being just that. Honda’s future plans for electrification will come in stages.
And who knows, it’s not impossible that Honda’s management will change its mind about the possible development of a manual solution for the electric sports cars of the future, but for now, this possibility is not being considered.