- Toyota has built a prototype electric sports car with a manual gearbox and clutch reporter car news.
- Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda revealed details after driving the prototype, and he also mentioned engine noises being heard in the cabin.
- Lexus — Toyota’s luxury division — has experimented with mock manuals, so the brands think it could make EVs more attractive.
It seems inevitable that one day, possibly from now on, all new performance cars will be electric. For enthusiasts who like the extra involvement a manual transmission offers, it’s a sad thought, since no production EVs yet have a self-shifting setup.However, according to the company’s chairman, Akio Toyoda, recently automotive news.
Speaking to the news media during last weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, Toyoda said he drove a prototype built by Toyota’s motorsports arm, Gazoo Racing. “You can hear the engine noise in the car, and you have a manual transmission with a clutch,” he said. “You don’t really notice that you’re driving an electric car—the only thing missing is the smell of gasoline.”
While Toyota has yet to officially announce a new electric sports car, it has revealed a concept called the Sports EV (pictured above). Meanwhile, Lexus, which is planning an electric successor to the LFA supercar, has experimented with a manual transmission that mimics the feel of a traditional stick shift, which could make an EV feel more appealing. There’s also the Lexus UX300e, which the company modded with a fake manual shifter and clutch.
It traced a similar setup to that experienced by Akio Toyoda in the prototype. As for the engine noise he mentioned in the cabin, it’s unclear if it’s a fake sound mimicking an internal combustion engine or audio amplified by the car’s electric motor, like we hear in the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance race car. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see if Toyota can make a fake manual transmission for EVs that isn’t purely dramatic.
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Eric Stafford’s car addiction started before he could walk, fueling his passion for news, commentary and more car and driver Since 2016. His ambition growing up was to be a millionaire with a car collection like Jay Leno’s. Apparently, getting rich is harder than it looks like being a social media influencer, so he avoided financial success altogether, became an auto journalist and drove new cars for a living.Years of basically burning money on failed project cars and lemon-flavored classics finally paid off after earning a journalism degree at Central Michigan University and working at a daily newspaper. car and driver hired him. His garage currently includes a 2010 Acura RDX, a ’97 manual Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 and a ’90 Honda CRX Si.
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