Toyota files patent for imitation manual transmission for electric vehicles

Toyota files patent for imitation manual transmission for electric vehicles

Toyota’s push to keep manual transmissions when cars go electric: Japanese firm has filed a patent for a transmission that ‘simulates’ manual shifting

  • This month, Toyota filed eight patents for a “simulated” manual transmission for electric vehicles.
  • The days of a manual transmission are numbered before the transition to electric vehicles, which typically use a single-speed transmission.
  • The Toyota setup has a “fake” shift knob and clutch pedal to operate the system.
  • The software will limit the torque and speed of the electric motor in each “arbitrary virtual gear” to replicate the feel of a manual transmission.

As the transition to electric vehicles gains momentum ahead of a 2030 ban on new gas and diesel car sales, the days of the manual transmission are numbered.

After the deadline, virtually every new model released will come with an automatic transmission, making manual shifting a task of the past.

But Toyota has taken a step to keep the feel of a manual transmission for traditionalists who might want to experience that connection with their cars…

A Japanese car manufacturer has applied for a patent for an electric vehicle with a manual transmission.

Toyota bid to keep manual 'box': Japanese brand files patents for 'simulated' manual transmission for electric vehicles - here's how it would work...

Toyota bid to keep manual ‘box’: Japanese brand files patents for ‘simulated’ manual transmission for electric vehicles – here’s how it would work…

Images posted on the BZ Forum – a community of Toyota BZ owners and enthusiasts – this week show eight patents demonstrating various aspects of “simulating” a manual transmission for an electric vehicle.

The diagrams show a setup with a “fake” shift knob and clutch pedal that, combined with clever software, can control the amount of torque from the electric motor to replicate the feel of the conventional transmission that many British drivers grew up with.

Mechanically, the system will be a single speed transmission, but it will limit the power the electric motor can produce and the speed it can reach, depending on which “arbitrary virtual” gear is selected.

For example, when a driver uses a fake shift knob and clutch to select first gear, the system will allow for high torque but will have a low top speed limit due to the electric motor in that gear.

There will be less torque in sixth gear, but the ability to reach a higher top speed.

In theory, this would require the driver to change gears and select the best gear for the environment they are in.

Mechanically, the system will be a single speed transmission, but it will limit the power the electric motor can produce and the speed it can reach, depending on which

Mechanically, the system will be a single speed transmission, but it will limit the power the electric motor can produce and the speed it can reach, depending on which “arbitrary virtual” gear is selected.

When the driver uses the fake shift knob and clutch to select first gear, the system allows high torque but has a low top speed limit in that gear.  Sixth, the torque will be less, but there will be no limit on the speed of the electric motor.

When the driver uses the fake shift knob and clutch to select first gear, the system allows high torque but has a low top speed limit in that gear. Sixth, the torque will be less, but there will be no limit on the speed of the electric motor.

There will also be other simulated effects to make the fake manual look like the real thing, including a powered vibrator plate in the clutch that will vibrate the rider’s foot to replicate the conventional left pedal feel.

Patents filed by Toyota this month hint at three different modes to simulate a manual transmission.

The first is a fully simulated experience, requiring the user to use both the clutch and the shift lever.

Ford has applied for a patent for a clutchless manual transmission for ICE vehicles.

Toyota is not the only car manufacturer to have patented a revolutionary transmission system.

The American brand has developed a manual transmission without a clutch pedal that can be used in gasoline and diesel vehicles.

This means that the clutch is automatically engaged when the driver moves the gear lever.

Files provided by Ford describe the transmission system as being “mounted on the engine block”, rather than being added to an electric transmission.

Like the quickshifter on the latest performance bikes, the clutchless system allowed for quicker gear shifts.

The second mode eliminates the need to use the clutch, which Toyota says would be useful for low-speed maneuvers like getting stuck in traffic, reversing or trying to park.

The third setting will be fully automatic, meaning the driver doesn’t have to use the clutch or shifter while the system selects the best gear to use, much like a standard automatic transmission in today’s cars.

This isn’t the first time the automaker has announced its intentions to keep a manual transmission after 2030.

At the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, the company unveiled the GR HV hybrid sports car concept, featuring a conventional H-shaped gate that could be accessed by pressing a button hidden under the shift knob cover.

The latest patents have received mixed reactions since they were leaked on the Toyota Owners Forum, with some applauding the ability to shift gears yourself, while others dismissed the exercise of mimicking the old system as unnecessary.

While the technology will mimic the feel of manual shifting, it won’t add any performance benefits – in fact, it will likely make the electric vehicle accelerate more slowly by interrupting the linear torque delivery from the electric motor.

This is Toyota's GR HV concept sports car unveiled at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show.  Despite the presence of a hybrid transmission, which usually means an automatic transmission, it had a manual setting

This is Toyota’s GR HV concept sports car unveiled at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. Despite the presence of a hybrid transmission, which usually means an automatic transmission, it had a manual setting

The sports car concept featured a conventional H-shaped gate that could be accessed by pressing a button hidden under the gear knob cover (shown here in red).

The sports car concept featured a conventional H-shaped gate that could be accessed by pressing a button hidden under the gear knob cover (shown here in red).

Toyota’s patent states: “Especially for drivers accustomed to driving [manual] vehicles, a pseudo-shifting operation that does not involve manual shifting by the driver may cause discomfort to drivers who seek driving pleasure. [manual gearboxes].’

The big question is, do you want to still be able to change gears even if the fleet is dominated by electric vehicles?

A study by AA Cars in late 2019 found that online searches for automatic transmissions were up 100% from 2014, with almost 19% of buyers looking for automatic transmission engines.

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