Thursday, January 26, 2023
News Toyota Filed a Patent for a Manual Transmission for Electric Vehicles

Toyota Filed a Patent for a Manual Transmission for Electric Vehicles

Toyota could make an electric sports car with a manual transmission, according to patents.

2020 Toyota 86 GT | Photo: Olivier Delorme

  • This transmission should feature a normal clutch and shifter

  • The electric motor controller will make it behave more like a combustion engine

  • A gearless mode will also be available for when drivers don’t feel like shifting themselves

Many thought the electrification of the automotive industry would spell the end for the manual transmission, but Toyota sees it differently.

The Japanese automaker filed a patent that shows an electric powertrain that features a regular manual transmission, clutch and all. This could mean that future performance cars will continue to offer enthusiasts the option to change their own gears.

Obviously, an electric motor doesn’t require a clutch, since it doesn’t need to spin while the wheels are stopped like a combustion powered car, but it could be used to shift the transmission while moving.

In order to replicate the feel of a normal manual transmission equipped vehicle, the patent states that the electric motor controller will be tuned to make it behave more like a combustion engine in terms of power delivery.

Since less and less drivers are buying manual transmissions and an electric motor is capable of operating in a single gear, such as when manual gasoline powered vehicles are converted to run on electricity, Toyota thought to include a shiftless mode.

Presumably, this means the transmission could be left in third or fourth gear all the time and the vehicle could then drive like a regular electric car, without requiring more inputs from the driver. This could also be useful in heavy traffic, where shifting and using the clutch can become tiresome.

This is not the first time an electric car has a transmission that shifts gears, since the Porsche Taycan and the Audi e-tron GT have a two-speed gearbox. It is the first time, however, that an automaker has put forth a patent looking to make a factory produced electric car equipped with a manual transmission.

If this idea makes it to production, it could be seen in future sports cars from Toyota that have been promised by the company’s president, himself a car enthusiast.

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