Toyota, renowned for its commitment to driving pleasure, is breaking new ground in the world of electric vehicles (EVs). Recent reports from Road & Track suggest that the Japanese auto giant is diligently working on an all-electric sports car that aims to captivate even the most ardent EV skeptics. What sets this car apart is its potential inclusion of a manual transmission, a feature that is often associated with the thrill of traditional driving.
During the 100th anniversary 24 Hours of Le Mans event, Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda revealed that the company’s performance-focused GR sub-brand is actively developing an electric vehicle that embraces exhilaration. Toyoda, an avid car enthusiast himself, has personally test-driven the prototype and was impressed by the captivating “engine noise” emitted by the car, as reported by the magazine.
While some automakers have introduced simulated engine sounds to their electric models, Toyota’s endeavor to combine these authentic audio experiences with a manual gearbox marks a significant milestone in the industry. Toyoda emphasised that the upcoming EV will not only offer a stick shift but will also incorporate clutches, accentuating the genuine manual driving experience.
Despite the unnecessary nature of multi-gear manual transmissions in EVs, Toyota’s inclusion of this feature demonstrates their dedication to preserving the art of shifting gears. Unlike internal-combustion engines with their limited optimal RPM range, electric motors operate efficiently across a broader spectrum, rendering a single gear sufficient. However, Toyota recognises the importance of tactile engagement and the distinct sound of a powerful engine in enhancing the overall driving experience.
Interestingly, this announcement coincides with recent news from Toyota’s engineers in Japan, who revealed their plans to introduce manual transmissions to their EV lineup by 2026. The company has been exploring this technology for over a year, with a working prototype of an electric Lexus crossover already tested by British auto publication Evo. Videos posted online showcase the seamless gear shifting experience, complete with a clutch, emulating the traditional feel of driving a gasoline-powered vehicle.
Toyota’s commitment to blending innovation with the familiar sensations of traditional driving speaks volumes about their philosophy. As the EV industry continues to evolve, Toyota aims to cater to driving enthusiasts who value the thrill of manual gear changes and the symphony of engine notes. By pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the realm of electric sports cars, Toyota is paving the way for an exhilarating and nostalgic future.
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