In a move to infuse more excitement and engagement into its electric vehicles (EVs), Toyota is introducing a simulated manual transmission. This innovative feature is designed to offer drivers a unique and customizable experience, allowing them to select the number of virtual “gears” based on their preference. Unlike traditional manuals with limited speeds, Toyota’s patented system presents the possibility of an extensive range, illustrated with images showcasing up to 14 speeds.

Technical Insights: The recently published patent application delves into the intricacies of this groundbreaking system. In essence, the driver gains control over how many ratios they want, with the document emphasizing that “the number of the virtual gear stage may be six stages or more, or less than six stages.” This level of flexibility allows users to tailor the driving experience according to their preferences.

Virtual Gear Selection: While the notion of selecting a pattern might suggest an electro-mechanical system creating physical shift gates, Toyota takes a different approach. The system involves a fixed number of actual gates, potentially six (although Toyota uses four as an example). When a gear is chosen, much like a traditional manual, the lever may return to the neutral position. As the driver navigates through the gears, the virtual pattern seamlessly transitions to the next set of “ratios.” For instance, if a pattern includes six gears and the driver selects the sixth, a display will present the available ratios for moving up to seventh and beyond or down to fifth and the existing set of gears.

Practical Considerations: While the concept of a 14-speed manual might seem ambitious for traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, the simulated nature of Toyota’s system sidesteps such concerns. In the realm of electric vehicles, where manual transmissions are not bound by the constraints of combustion engines, Toyota believes offering a choice up to 14 speeds adds a layer of enjoyment and personalization for drivers.

Toyota’s foray into the realm of simulated manual transmissions for electric vehicles represents a bold step toward enhancing driver engagement. By combining innovation and customization, this system aims to redefine the driving experience in the evolving landscape of electric mobility.


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